My struggle with Philosophy and Belief (PB/RE) –Part 2

person holding pencil writing on notebook

This is a continuation of the series of blog posts about my journey with Philosophy and Belief at secondary school and how I feel my personal faith (and lack thereof) was shaped by my experience of being autistic. In this second instalment (you can read the first post here), I’m going to describe my experiences in Years Eight and Nine. This post will be slightly different to my last one, as I will detour away from just talking about the philosophical issues I had, in order to discuss the circumstances of PB lessons, particularly in Year Eight, and the strategies we developed to manage my difficulties in PB, both inside and outside of the classroom. I hope these solutions may be of interest to those on the spectrum, or their carers.

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Trip to Hull with Asperger’s, and How To React to Autistic Stimming.

Hello again! Apologies for my tremendously long hiatus (I exist in a perpetual losing battle with procrastination!) but hopefully there will be some more posts coming out soon to make up for it. So, this post is one I’ve been planning for a while. It’s going to be quite similar to my last post about being in Spain — it’s another one about my experiences going to a new place, and how I dealt with things like anxiety and stimming on the journey there and some interesting things that happened once we got there.

The trip itself was incredibly enjoyable. Part of writing these blogs means I get to look back on my own previous experiences, which offers a nice opportunity to self-reflect and also allows me in hindsight see just how much more I can cope with nowadays. In the past, journeys to new places, especially on public transport, could be very overwhelming and stressful for me, as there are so many uncertain variables. But this time, I was quite confident getting on the train with my mum there to help me, and for the most part was able to stay nice and calm despite all the bustling and the noise. It just goes to show how with time, and with the right strategies in place, you can become more comfortable approaching anxiety-inducing situations, even if the physical elements like the noise and the sensory stimulation are still difficult. Comparing this trip to my trip to Spain, which I wrote about here, the train station was certainly much easier to navigate than the airport — the ticket booths are right in front of you, the platforms are much more clearly signposted, there are arrows on the floor, etc. — and because the train station was smaller and more enclosed, without so many windows, it was easier for me to get my bearings. Having my mum there also helped a lot — she is absolutely my rock and can keep me feeling safe in practically any situation. And so I was quite happy just sitting with my noise-cancelling headphones on, waiting for the train. Once we got on and sat down, I felt even better; now I just had to sit in the same place, and there’s less uncertainty when you don’t have to move around.

Of course, we still had to change trains, but I managed fairly well, I just stayed close to my mum. Overall, the journey was fine, and once we got to Hull we were quickly found by my friend and her family. My friend is very chatty and I have a good time with her, partly because she is good at carrying a conversation and I am good at listening — having someone who is happy to talk is good for me because it takes some of the pressure off of me to try to come up with things to say. Moreover, she knows all about my Asperger’s and is very understanding and patient if ever I don’t understand something she’s said, or if I say we need to go somewhere else because its too loud.

On the whole, I had a lovely time staying in Hull. As I have undoubtedly mentioned in a previous post, having a person who you trust with you can mitigate anxiety, and so as me and my friend went around Hull I was confident that she would be able to help me if anything unexpected happened.

There was, though, a notable instance at a restaurant which I think is worth mentioning here as it relates to my ASD. One night (we stayed in Hull for a couple of days) we all went out for Thai food. The restaurant had lots of interesting decoration to look at and varied lighting, (i.e. it was rather visually stimulating) and naturally, as it was new place and I was fairly excited, I started stimming. As I said, my friend knows about my Asperger’s, and since I’ve been to her house many times, so do her parents. For that reason, I’m quite comfortable stimming in front of her and her parents — her father is also a teaching assistant and is used to working with kids on the spectrum, and we’ve talked about stimming before.

My stims on that evening mainly involved tapping my fingers against my palm on one hand, up close to my ear so I could hear the sound they made, in addition to a kind of twirling motion with my wrist. My friend’s father commented on the stim, saying it was like a dance move. This actually made me realise that I had picked up this particular stim after watching my younger sibling do a primary-school dance production where they twirled their hands in a similar way. It’s actually quite common for me to pick up stims this way — if I see someone else doing a movement, I’ll sometimes copy it and if it feels positive then it can become a stim that reappears later. This also means that when I watch other people stimming, it can often set off my own stims, or I end up copying theirs. This also applies to vocal stims — in addition to echolalia, I’ll often pick up phrases or ways of pronouncing words from people that then manifest as stims later on.

Now, going back to the situation at hand: as a general rule I would say don’t comment on someone’s stimming, unless you know them quite well and think they’ll be comfortable with it. If they express that they don’t want to talk about it, then obviously you should just let the subject drop. Basically — react how they react. I’ve heard some people who experience tics (which can appear similar to stimming except they are usually more involuntary) give the advice that it’s best when other people react how they react — one youtuber who I used to watch, who had Tourette’s syndrome, said she often laughed at her own tics when she found them amusing, and was fine with her friends laughing too in those cases, and I generally have a similar attitude towards my stims, but obviously this varies from person to person. Some people are more comfortable discussing their stims, while others prefer it if their stims are just ignored. So I would say react how the stimming person reacts. Also bear in mind that stimming is not always a conscious choice or under a person’s control (neither are tics). I know that I personally don’t get to always choose which stims I do — often I try to redirect my stims from something disruptive to something more discreet, but it doesn’t always work — and I think if people I didn’t know were commenting all the time it might make me uncomfortable. Sometimes people around me who don’t know I’m autistic react with concern — I’ve had several people ask me ‘is your hand okay?’, when I’ve been hand-flapping, which is a perfectly fine question to ask me, and I am happy to explain. Just be polite and respectful, and you can’t go too far wrong, but also remember that an autistic person doesn’t owe you an explanation of their stims. If you’d like to know more about stimming, you can check out my post on stimming here. In this case, with my friend’s dad, I didn’t mind at all; the comparison to a dance move made me laugh, and, like I said, it actually helped me figure out the origin of my own stim!

Anyway, I was stimming through my hand in an attempt to avoid another stim, which manifests as a forceful kind of blink that just happens again and again. Unfortunately I was unsuccessful, and the blinking stim happened anyway. Then a moment came where it felt as though I really lost control of the blinking stim, hardly able to open my eyes at all. Feeling overwhelmed, I put my head in my hands and rubbed my eyes to physically try to displace it, as though I could rub the stim off my face — it sounds silly, but that’s the way it felt. After that, the stim calmed down again. Nowadays, I call it ‘rebooting’; when a stim starts to feel out of my control, more like a compulsive tic that while no doubt relieving internal tension is starting to cause me a level of agitation, I take a moment of pause. I stop trying to repress the stim, I let the mask drop, I stop thinking about whatever is happening around me, and I just breathe and focus. This moment usually takes barely a second, but it’s usually enough to calm the stim down, and then everything is fine. So if anyone else struggles with this, with stims becoming distressing because they feel out of control: I recommend just taking a moment for yourself to concentrate on acknowledging your stims. Obviously this may not work all the time, but for me, I often find the tension comes because I’m trying to repress the stim, which only makes me more aware of it and then causes it to happen even more. Instead of trying to restrain it, if you are in a position to do so, I suggest letting yourself do whatever you feel you need to, and then usually the stims can become a bit calmer. It’s important to remember that stims arise from internal tension, so if you are stimming a lot its usually due to too much internal tension which your brain is calling out for you to address. So for me, just taking a moment of mindfulness to acknowledge that I am perhaps over stimmed, and reminding myself that I will be able to down stim later on, is enough to subconsciously relax me enough to then be able to continue for the rest of the evening.

Other than that instance, my Asperger’s and anxiety were perfectly manageable, both whilst in Hull and on the journey home. I’m very glad it was such a good experience, but I hope by reflecting on the one instance in the restaurant I can also learn from that, and hopefully hearing my experiences helps you or someone you know too.

Thanks so much for reading all the way to the end, and hopefully I’ll have a new post up in the next week or two — I’m hoping to get this blog running more regularly again. Thanks for your patience! Please remember to share this post on social media, leave a like or follow this blog if you enjoyed or found this helpful, and leave a comment on what you’d like me to talk about next! Thanks again!

A week in Spain with Asperger’s.

Over the Easter holidays, I was lucky enough to go on a trip to Spain with my girlfriend, to stay at her dad’s place for a week. This was a trip that had been planned for a while, and I was very excited. I knew that it was likely that throughout the week I would have to deal with some overstimulation and anxiety, from all the new experiences, but from the very start of the trip we had various plans set which made it run nice and smoothly. Besides one incident of overstimulation, the trip was perfect, and even then it was handled perfectly by my girlfriend and her dad. Here’s how it went, and what I learned about managing my Asperger’s.

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The Curious Incident of The Dog In the Night-Time

So, as I love reading, I thought I’d start doing some book reviews where I focus on books which feature autistic characters, and give you my thoughts on how well they reflect the autistic experience. Obviously I don’t speak for all autistics, and my thoughts on the books are of course going to be terribly biased, but I’ll just give you some idea of how I relate to these characters and maybe some funny stories where I’ve done similar things. Note: there will be spoilers throughout this review as I talk specifically about plot and character events in order to draw parallels to my own life.

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The Art of Being Boring

If I had a £1 coin for every time I’ve been called boring, I’d have a pretty decent amount not a ludicrous amount, but enough for some new books at least. Admittedly, a fair part of what’s lead to me being called boring (including by some of my closest friends) has been my general preferment of reading over people, but what I didn’t realise for a long time growing up was that a lot of what made me ‘boring’ in the eyes of those neurotypicals around me was actually due to my Asperger’s, and the way in which my Asperger’s was in conflict with how society is set up to promote certain social activities.

Being called boring no longer bothers me, but in this post I thought I’d identify why I used to get called it so often, and how my ‘boring’ behaviour also pertains to my Asperger’s in some unexpected ways. This is really an exercise in exploring just how central my Asperger’s is to my personality. Some people don’t like to think of themselves as defined by their ASD, and that’s perfectly understandable, but I am of the belief that my Asperger’s is absolutely a core part of who I am, and in this list you’ll be able to see some of the many ways it affects me.

Monotone speaking

A lot of people with Asperger’s often speak in monotone. I definitely did this as a child, though it stopped when I was about seven years old. I think speaking in monotone goes hand in hand with more generally how I struggled to express emotion, which often made the people around me think that I was ungrateful or not passionate about anything (I talk more about the difficulty in expressing emotions in my post here). I wasn’t constantly monotone, just like I wasn’t always unable to express emotional reactions. At home, I was far more expressive than I was in public. I think this can be explained with the idea that for those on the spectrum, going out in public places, especially ones which are unfamiliar, involves a great deal of stimulation, and so my brain just couldn’t handle processing all of that information, and still manage to put on a ‘normal’ voice. In a way, it’s like masking — even now, when I’m too overstimulated, the mask slips (see here for more on masking) and I stop making facial expressions. It’s as though facial expressions and intonation are extra add-on computer programs which have to run on top of the main program, but when the main program is struggling to keep up with the basic processing required for ‘surviving’ a social situation, then all of the add-ons are entirely forgotten.

Anxiety and low-self confidence.

Anxiety and my Asperger’s have always gone hand-in-hand. This has definitely contributed to the perception that I’m boring. Low self-confidence has in the past meant that I’m reluctant to try new things, and my anxiety means I prefer the predictable to the point where to other people it borders on mundane. I also need constant reassurance when I’m doing a task to feel comfortable doing it, and a lot of supervised practice before I’m confident doing it alone, so often I prefer to let other people do the things I’m not familiar with. In science lessons at school, I often preferred theory lessons over times when we would do practical experiments, which seemed backwards to everybody else, but I preferred theory because practicals involved group discussions, and everybody moving around, and this disorganisation made me feel anxious. Even now, I still find quite regimented lessons less tiring than those which are more varied — simply because copying from the textbook, even if it’s dull, involves a lot less noise and unregulated commotion.

Repetitive behaviours

A trait which quite a lot of people on the spectrum have is that we can enjoy repetitive behaviours, and that we can therefore sometimes have a much higher tolerance to repetition than neurotypicals when it comes to performing specific tasks. For example, I heard one story of a girl who loved making origami foxes. She made hundreds and hundreds of these tiny paper animals, and where as anyone else might have gotten bored of doing the same task over and over again, she never even found her focus slipping. This can be a real strength for aspies, as it allows us to focus on tasks other people would get bored of. However it does mean that neurotypicals will sometimes find us strange for not sharing their boredom, and be surprised when we say we don’t mind doing a menial task over and over again because it’s interesting to us.

Routine

Routine is essential for a lot of those with ASD, and similar to how we can have a higher tolerance for repetitive activities as mentioned above, some of us just aren’t as sensitive to the need for variety as some neurotypicals are. There are still times when we seek out variety in our lives, and we can certainly be impulsive, but we often prioritise a feeling of security over any potential benefits of changing routine, which neurotypicals can often misinterpret as simply being rigid and static. My friends were always bewildered that I never felt a need to ‘rebel’ — but change was just not something I seemed to crave in the same way they did.

Divergent interests

Aspies have a tendency to develop special interests, or hyper-fixations, which we devote hours and hours of attention to, and we often have a desire to talk exclusively about that topic for hours on end. (Note: hyper-fixations are sometimes also called ‘obsessions’, however there are a lot of negative connotations to this word, and so a lot of aspies prefer to use ‘special interests’ when talking about their fascinations, and reserve the term ‘obsession’ for when a hyper-fixation becomes problematic, i.e. it develops to the point where it hampers daily functioning.) In general, hyper-fixations are not a bad thing — they can provide intense fulfilment for the aspie engaging in them, and if you have the patience to listen to an aspie info-dumping, it can often be a very rewarding experience, both for you and the aspie. However, our tendency to want to talk exclusively about our interests can sometimes mean we are repetitive to other people, and, due to our lack of innate social awareness, we often don’t pick up on how a topic that is so fascinating to us is not at all interesting to the person we’re talking to, who’s probably already heard this information a dozen times already. In my case, the topic of my special interest as a child was dinosaurs, and although I eventually grew out of that long-term fixation and since then have entered into a number of intense but more short-lived special interests, I am well aware I must have been extremely tiresome at times. I’ve always been grateful to my parents for having the patience to nonetheless engage with me and to encourage my passions.

Hypersensitivity to noise

This is a trait of a lot of people with ASD, and it usually leads one to seek out very quiet places, like libraries. This often means you’re not hanging out with your loud friends, or going to parties, because these places are inaccessible to you because they are simply not worth the overstimulation, or are physically painful to be in. Hence you become the stay-at-home one, the boring one, who doesn’t go out as often. For me, most of my friends prefer to hang out and study in the noisy Sixth-Form Centre during free periods, but because it’s so busy I can rarely be in there for more than an hour a day or I will find myself massively overstimulated and tired by the end of the school day. This has meant that some of my friends complain that they never see me in school, but I’m lucky enough that most of them appreciate that it’s not a choice to avoid them, the Sixth-Form Centre is just not somewhere I can comfortably stay for prolonged times. Even with noise cancelling headphones which allows us to enter those noisy spaces, an aspie may often still feel somewhat excluded, because in order to most efficiently block out the noise, we also have to block out conversation, which is why I generally prefer to use regular headphones and just have music to ground me (I’m a big fan of the one-ear-in, one-ear-out method), rather than full noise-cancelling headphones which mean I can’t properly hear my friends when I’m with them, and which subsequently makes me less talkative and engaged.

Feeling alienated from your peers

All of the above can contribute to feelings of isolation from people my age, which can just reinforce a cycle. If you don’t have many friends, it can be hard to make friends, and so this labels you as the loner, who is quiet and reserved, and again: boring. In my case, this hasn’t happened so much. I have a close group of friends. But nonetheless, occasionally my lack of innate social skills due to my Asperger’s means I can still sometimes find it difficult to relate to my peers, and so I don’t always want to do all the things that they do, which makes me seem ‘boring’ when the reality is it’s just difficult for me to navigate conversation with them, so I’d rather avoid it.

In conclusion, there are a lot of ways in which my Asperger’s shapes my personality. My Asperger’s is me — it’s the way my brain is wired. And sometimes, I know that I am boring. But I think what matters is that because of my diagnosis, I know that sometimes when people claim I’m boring, or that there’s something wrong with me, I know that it isn’t me that they’re taking issue with, it’s my Asperger’s. My Asperger’s is an explanation for why I don’t like noisy parties, and why people sometimes find me boring. And it’s made my life much easier to have that — not as an excuse, and I certainly don’t use my Asperger’s like a scapegoat — but it’s an explanation to satisfy my own mind; context which I can use to make sense of my world and people’s reactions to me.

Thanks for reading, I hope this was a helpful insight into some aspie behaviours. If this has been in any way informative to you, please like, comment, or share on social media, and follow this blog for more similar content.

Retrospective on The Guilt Complex

I posted The Guilt Complex in 2018. Here we are now in 2021, and I believe that with my few years more experience of living and existing and all that nonsense, I’ve come to have a bit more insight about my own emotions.

First of all, for anyone who looked at that post and felt that they experienced a similar thing – let me tell you right now: it gets better. I don’t know how, I don’t know exactly why, but let’s just say that maturity seems to be this intangible thing where one day you realise that actually your worth doesn’t depend on your always being in the right.

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Look Who’s Back

Hey! I’m back! How is everybody? It’s been a while since I’ve touched this blog, frankly because I’ve been preoccupied just living. But I’m making a return to this blog with the renewed goal of continuing to share my experiences and advice for managing asperger’s syndrome.

From now on, you can look forward to (hopefully!) more regular posts. I plan to post at least once a month, so we’ll see how that goes.

I’m going to start by doing some retrospectives on my existing posts – honestly, re-reading through the thoughts of my eleven-year-old self has been quite a treat – and hopefully my newer, wiser self can provide some better insights. I also plan to record some of my experiences with volunteering, and my experience of a Cambridge University residential trip. And of course I’ll be doing lots of updates on strategies for how to cope at sixth form.

I’ll also be posting some content related to my own interests. For example, short stories I’ve written or thoughts on books that I’ve read; some of which will be explicitly related to my aspergers, some of which will just be my own opinions on things. I’ve found that being on the spectrum influences every part of my life, as I view everything through a neurodivergent lens, and so recording my reactions to things and the topics that come up in my own fiction has been useful for me in spotting patterns in how my aspie brain works, and I hope this may also be of interest to you.

Eye Contact

Why do you find it hard to make eye contact?

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It just feels wrong. I wouldn’t say that it scares me, because it’s nothing like that, it just doesn’t feel quite right and makes me uncomfortable. Most of the time I don’t even realise that I’m not looking at people’s eyes until either I think about it or until they comment on it. What I’ve noticed some aspies, (Chris Packham for instance) and myself doing, is that sometimes we consciously make an effort to maintain eye contact. We hold it for a few seconds, really trying to do it, then our eyes drop again, and we go back to looking around. In Chris Packham’s case, I watched him on TV, and watched the way his eyes moved. What I feel when I’m in conversation, is just that there are so many things happening at once, it’s like I’m supposed to listen to what the person is saying, look at what their hands are doing, look at what their body is doing, look at what their eyebrows and facial expression is saying, work out whether they’re speaking metaphorically, with sarcasm or perhaps they’re teasing me, then I have to analyse it all and figure it out all whilst even more things are going on in the room around me that are far more interesting! And it all happens so fast! When I say this, I of course mean no offence. I am not saying that people are boring or anything like that, but what tends to happen is my brain moves way to quickly and before I know it my focus has moved on to a whole new subject. It’s way too much for my brain to comprehend, and so I just try to focus on one thing at a time, which often isn’t the words that are coming out of their mouth. This tends to give the impression that I’m not listening, or that I don’t care what’s someone is saying. I’ve heard some aspie bloggers saying that the reason they don’t like looking into people’s eyes is because they feel like they’re being judged, and that it feels eerie to be looking at someone’s eyes and not being able to tell what their mind is thinking. I don’t like being judged, (after all, who does?) but looking at people’s eyes doesn’t always make me feel that way, it’s just that indescribable discomfort. They also said that they have no trouble looking at people’s eyes when they are on TV, I find that I don’t have any trouble with that either. They said it was because the eyes they see aren’t ‘real’. The eyes on the TV can’t see me, and therefore can’t judge me, and they aren’t looking at me directly, just the camera. That fact makes me feel better, so I have tried to make eye contact with TV characters, and actually see how their eyes and faces move in detail, but I still don’t understand how neurotypicals can read each other so easily, when faces move so fast and the hints are always so subtle. The solutions me and my parents came up with is that when in public and I have to speak to someone (for example if I’m ordering food at a restaurant) I will try to look at their eyebrows or nose, then at least I’m looking at their face, even if I am just making eye contact with their eyebrows. If I don’t like that strategy, I try to find out what colour their eyes are, although sometimes what can happen is I’ll be so focused on looking at them, that I’ll forget what I’m supposed to say. It becomes natural after a while to just give people’s faces a quick glance when I’m talking. I guess it just comes with practice. It also helps to have a clear idea of what you want to say (in my case what I want to order) and also have a few answers prepared in case they say something else as well. Sometimes, this doesn’t always work, so I’ll occasionally just look to my mum for help. It helps to have someone who, if you get in trouble, they can jump in and save you!

The Anxiety…

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Where do I begin? Anxiety is a very troublesome emotion, but is one that varies hugely depending on the individual. For me, anxiety is usually a growing sensation of being on edge, but can also be a feeling of detachment, and surrealism, which in turn creates panic.

The latter sensation often occurs when my routine is interrupted. For example, recently my school was closed due to the snow. As much as I was relieved and happy to get a day off and have fun in the snow, for the rest of the day, I felt quite disconnected – like things weren’t real. This wasn’t a pleasant experience, and it also led to a lack of focus on my part, as I felt like I almost couldn’t remember what day it was because nothing was fitting with the routine. The feeling of detachment also made me panic – it reminded me all too much of a similar feeling I get when I’m dreaming a nightmare but I can’t control it.

The former, however – the sensation of being on edge – I most commonly feel when I am surrounded by lots of people. It’s just your classic feeling of nervousness, and any person who is shy or introverted will have likely experienced it. When I get anxious, a lot of the telltale signs appear: walking on tiptoes, looking down, fidgeting and also that subtle stiffness when I move.

In situations like the one directly above, there isn’t always necessarily a solution. I tend to either seek out a distraction (e.g headphones, reading or even chatting with close friends or family if they are present), or to make a game out of it; pretending I’m on a mission to infiltrate a building or street and I have to act natural in order to remain undetected. It’s a little childish, I’ll admit, and I don’t use that strategy often, but thinking of it that way can sometimes help calm me down, because it’s a challenge to solve that I can think about in the same way as a puzzle, rather than dwelling on how many people there are and panicking about what to do if they approach me.

Anxiety, as I have mentioned before, is yellow in my eyes, and when I experience it, I often find it causes my mind to race, and the music track going round in my head almost always speeds up. In previous posts, I said it felt like the floor had dropped out from beneath me. That is partly true, but that is more when I am worried I have done something wrong, rather than just being nervous. So in a way, to me, anxiety has three meanings.

The Guilt Complex

Guilt-Cake-is-yummy

As an aspie, I have a really strong sense about right and wrong, which is sort of strange considering that I know that good and bad are relative terms created by humans to label themselves and encourage behaviour that is beneficial to an individual or society, and discourage that which isn’t. Sorry, I’m rambling. But the thing is, with my good conscience, also comes a ton of guilt if I ever do anything ‘bad’. If I ever do anything wrong, I will obsess about it for weeks, even months and if it’s particularly bad, I will still wince over it years later. The following days after an incident where I get in trouble, it feels like my stomach has been cut out, and there’s just a hole left. A hole that is continually growing and threatening to consume me. I know that may sound dramatic, but that is honestly how it feels. After a while it deadens, until the only time it really hurts is when I remember and get dragged into that depressing memory. I’ll end up thinking about it, usually late at night when I can’t sleep, and the hole through my stomach will start growing again, but then I can’t stop thinking about it. I recall a long time ago, where I listened to a parody version of a song that was often on the radio. However, the parody that I listened to contained swearing – nothing terrible, but still – but my younger self didn’t recognise it as such. Oblivious to the obscene profanity, I quoted the song lyrics to my mum – with my grandparents present as well. My mum, ever the kind one, quietly took me aside and informed me that the words I was singing weren’t allowed. Even though I hadn’t been aware of what I was doing, I still felt tremendously guilty, and this did result in tears. The worst part was, the song that I had listened to the parody of was very popular, and so was played on the radio frequently. Every time the song came on, I would be reminded of my accidental swearing, and that guilty feeling would open up. It still makes me cringe a little when I hear it now, although I do agree it is a good song.

Guilt is probably the worst emotion for me. It’s the one that hurts the most. If I had to associate the emotion with a colour, I would say I’ve always thought of guilt as a green, sometimes brownish yellow colour. I can offer no explanation as to why; that’s just how I think. And to reiterate myself, the emotion just feels like a hole in my stomach, although it often is accompanied by anxiety. Anxiety is a somewhat similar sensation, a gaping, pulling feeling as if something is missing; it feels like the floor has dropped out from under me, and I’m just falling. Anxiety is definitely an electric yellow, and that’s why I often associate guilt as such, because the two are paired.

As far as I am aware, there is no alleviation for guilt other than time or reassurance. If you have any coping , I’d welcome some comments!