Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Asperger's Documentary by AHFilms

I would like to announce that I’ll be making a documentary film about Asperger’s Syndrome and high-functioning autism! We want to raise awareness by interviewing multiple people on the spectrum and by showing life from their perspective in the film.

Asperger’s Documentary Trailer #1: 

Asperger’s Documentary Trailer #2:

Documentary Introduction - What is Asperger's?:

The documentary will be released in Spring 2015. Also, we are now fully funded!! Please click the link below to view our project on Kickstarter!

Like Alyssa Huber Films on Facebook for updates on the project! 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Vael - My Inner Realm

Vael is my realm; my inner world. One of the few places where I actually have control, and my dreams run free. A beautiful place where I can be safe.

What is Vael?

It's a fantasy world I dreamed up when I was about 15 or 16. Around this time, I started shifting from my obsession with pirates to an obsession with things like fantasy and angel wings.

The theme of Vael is fantasy because its a flexible genre that allows all kinds of unique developments. And after 5+ years... oh, has it developed! It began with a culture with medieval-style architecture, then became an advanced society with moon folk, technology, and magic.

Images that inspired Vael

How Vael Was Created
Vael originated from a need to express myself... since I have Asperger's, I would often fail at expressing emotions appropriately. I was quite sensitive and had to teach myself not to cry when I didn't get my way. It was very difficult, because I felt emotions very strongly when I was a teen, and sometimes even frightened people by things I said when my emotions got the better of me. I couldn't figure out for the life of me why I seemed ignored by certain friends, so I turned to the internet to make new friends who hopefully would accept me. I found quite a few on a 3-D chat program called IMVU (which I will write about in a future post), and I loved to tell stories with them through roleplaying since I wasn't too great at conversation. My first character was Shira, a cute little angel girl who would tag along on adventures.

Shira on IMVU
 [For those of you who don't know, the term "roleplaying" has several  meanings, and the one I'm referring to is telling a story through IM and  chats, where each person would take turns typing dialogue and actions.]

Mikio and Lushia
However, my emotional problems showed through all of this, and I lost many friends because of it.
But there was one friend who stuck with me... 
his name is Eddy, and he's from the UK. I met him on IMVU, but eventually we switched to Windows Live Messenger for roleplaying. I showed him my world, and he went with me everywhere, exploring the land and going on important missions with me. His character, Mikio, was brave, kind, and ready for just about anything. My new character, Lushia, was fun-loving and eager, though somewhat vulnerable and dependent upon the support of her friends.

My Sanctuary
Aside from the main plotline, I'd occasionally initiate a side-story based on how I felt at the moment. Sometimes, when I would got a creative "high," we would end up in a beautifully ethereal place like my Sanctuary. Here, it was always spring, with flowers dotting the endless hills. I would also describe the sky and water from lakes and streams in detail...

While I often had creative "highs," other times I'd have "lows"... and usually these were a result of my negative emotions overwhelming me. These roleplays were often intense and dramatic. For instance, one of them involved Lushia running through the rain as if to escape 
something—with the concerned Mikio following behind—until she leads them into a shack where Lushia experiences bouts of fear as Mikio attempts to console her.

The fact that Eddy stuck with me not only through the fun and adventurous times, but through the cryptic and intensely emotional episodes, completely blew my mind. He was the first to enter Vael without abandoning me in it, and this split my mind wide open to new possibilities. My world of one became a world of two, and Ed left the door open for more.

^ A past Christmas present for Ed... we'd often talk/roleplay late into the night

He's still one of my best friends to this very day, in spite of the fact that we don't talk as much due to the busyness of college life. He's one of the few—and perhaps only—people who have gotten that close to me without leaving a single negative mark on me.

So thanks, Eddy. I know I've told you a billion times how awesome you are, but I'll tell you again anyway. You're freaking awesome. :D

I may post more information about Vael in the future. I'll have to post about my guardian angel soon anyway, as he dwells in Vael...

Friday, February 7, 2014

My Anxiety Solution = A Cozy Corner

I am so calm right now, it's almost freaky.

A solution that helps with my anxiety/overstimulation: small spaces.
I've noticed in the past that when I'm either overstimulated or having an anxiety attack, I am rather intimidated by larger rooms, especially if they're filled with people. I would gravitate towards a smaller space—such as a public bathroom stall, or under a table somewhere—to deal with the anxiety. So I'm pretty much the opposite of claustrophobic.

Today, I was talking to my suitemate and another friend of mine in my dorm room, and while I loved the company and conversation, I was having a hard time focusing because I had just gotten back from lunch in the cafeteria and was overstimulated. I excused myself to change into my "chillin' at home" clothes, which consisted of a baggy t-shirt and sweat pants since I have sensory issues with clothing, and sat down in my computer chair to re-join the conversation. Their voices buzzed a little in my ears, but I ignored it because I wanted to enjoy my time with them. Eventually I picked up my stuffed deer named Gigi and curled up in my chair, closing my eyes to mentally recover while still listening to the conversation between my friends.

I zoned out a bit and started to think about small spaces, and how nice it'd be to have one. Then I remembered the space between the end of my bed and the wall. I used it as a storage area last semester, but now there was nothing there. Then I thought of a bed that dogs slept in, and how small and cozy they look.

I knew what I wanted to do.

I got out of my chair and started putting pillows back there. I told my friends what I was doing because I was so excited about it, and because the idea of having my own "doggy bed" was so appealing that I wanted to try it out right away. We continued the previous topic as I put it together, and by the time it was finished, we concluded the conversation and my friends left the room. I had it all to myself now.

My Doggy Bed
I curled up in my makeshift hiding place with a soft blanket, and pulled my bed rest pillow over me to make sort of a cave around my head and shoulders.

After a few minutes, all the buzzing in my head stopped and I was perfectly calm. When I got up again, I wasn't even drowsy... rather, I was just pleasantly mellow. I think I should try this again when I'm having a more severe anxiety attack, to confirm whether or not it works for me in those situations.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Sensory Overload... the Unpleasant Details of My Case

I wrote this in class.
For the record, it was an excellent class.

This is the main reason why I struggled so much while getting used to college. I didn't know how to deal with my sensory issues, and I'm actually still getting used to my new solutions. I thought I might as well describe what it's like to those who might not get it.

During sensory overload (SO), I suddenly feel hyper (particularly under florescent lights), and I become less aware of people and more aware of other sensory stimuli, like the sound of a computer humming or the designs on a piece of furniture. I also have trouble correctly articulating what I'm thinking or feeling, and sometimes I won't speak at all because it's so hard to. 

In My Shoes...
Have you ever had your eye dilated at the optometrist? It's really unpleasant, as it makes your eyes so sensitive to light that it's unbearable to be in brightly-lit places. Being under florescents is akin to that for me (After the SO-induced hyperactivity subsides); though it first affects my eyes, and then my brain. It starts with voices seeming louder... then my vision is a little hazy, and there's motion blur when I look around, along with floaters here and there.


If I were to look at the carpet in the classrooms (which have a pattern I'd describe as colored TV static), it would appear as if the "particles" in the pattern are moving and glitching. Then I find myself focusing on small, particular things like objects and textures because it hurts to listen to voices and look at people, and I can't process what they're saying quickly enough. This makes it extremely aggravating when trying to respond to someone talking to me directly. Eventually I get so drained that I can barely keep my head up...

Don't take your normal senses for granted. For me, it would be a blessing to be able to function in all/most environments.

However, that doesn't mean I'm just going to sit there and take it. Now I have ways of blocking out sensory input to avoid overload. I wear sunglasses in most public buildings, and earplugs wherever I know there will be certain tones or voices that will aggravate me. Under extremely bright lights, I may even wear a hat with a visor, in spite the fact that I hate hats... but hat hair is a small sacrifice to keep my brain in check. I also don't like the feeling of things in my ears... but same goes for the earplugs, a bit of discomfort is preferable to sensory overload.