Contributor Bio: Jordan is a 28-year-old mixed-race, Autistic & otherwise disabled, gay punk nerd. Jordan goes by “he” or "they" pronouns & lives mostly on a farm in the Appalachian mountains in Maryland with his dad and dogs. Jordan is the editor of No Missing Pieces Zine, writes some other zines, and runs Feral Is My Heart Zine Distro. For more info, go to: http://feralismyheart.tumblr.com/
Content Warning: mentions - suicidality, self-harm, dissociation & depersonalization, mania, OCD, hallucinations
Jordan’s Emotions and Sensations Clues Map
Anxiety/Stress: stress stimming; little/no sleep; over-sensitive (noise, touch, light, etc); under-sensitive (tactile, scent, taste); low/no energy; talking=hard; self-care=hard; body discomfort; depressed; OCD (compulsions, thoughts, perceptions); self-harm (urges / actions); suicidal
Depressed: stress stimming; crying/feel like crying; anxiety; little/no sleep; low/no energy; over-sensitive (noise, touch, light, etc); under-sensitive (tactile, scent, taste); body discomfort and/or dysphoria; self-care=hard; talking=hard; hallucinations, wonky perceptions; OCD (compulsions, thoughts, perceptions); self-harm (urges / actions); suicidal
Happy: happy/comfort stimming & scrunch-face + smirks; sensory-seeking; good sleep; happy thoughts; sometimes “internal stimming”/love feeling; laughing/smiling; silly; energy boost; self-care & communication = easier; creative.
Angry: upsetting event(?); stress stimming; little/no sleep; over-sensitive (noise, touch, light, etc); under-sensitive (mostly tactile); transient higher energy; shutdown and/or meltdown; destructive / self-destructive urges; anxiety?; body discomfort
Tired: little/no sleep (or can’t remember sleeping); depressed; anxious; annoyed/grumpy; over-sensitive (everything); under-sensitive (tactile/pressure, warm temp); self-care=hard; talking=hard; body discomfort; OCD (compulsions, thoughts, perceptions); self-harm (urges / actions)
Overwhelmed (Meltdown/Shutdown): stress stiming; way over-sensitive (noise, touch, light, movement, people, etc.); under-sensitive (need pressure, quiet, dim light or darkness); extremely anxious / panicky; body pain; dizzy; exhausted/drained; feel like crying and/or screaming; nonverbal or very difficult to speak, need AAC; OCD (compulsions, thoughts, perceptions); self-harm (urges / actions); destructive and/or self-destructive urges; possibly suicidal
Dissociation & Depersonalization: numbness; detachment; anxiety; depression; stress stimming; over-sensitive and under-sensitive; feeling “floaty” and/or perceiving myself as distant/detached from my body; feeling distant/detached from my environment; often comes along with flashbacks, triggers, and/or other PTSD things; not feeling real or like things around me are real (for me, this has been mostly because of certain psychiatric meds that were bad for me); self-harm (urges / actions); body discomfort
Manicky: super happy; energy boost/hyper; (sometimes) recently depressed; happy stimming; sensory-seeking; fast thoughts; not sleeping much or at all; not eating much; talking and/or writing a lot; hallucinations & wonky perceptions; OCD thoughts & perceptions; “connected to everything”; flipping back & forth between depressed and happy.
Hunger: stomach pain and irritation; empty feeling in my stomach; acid reflux (heartburn); dizzy or light-headed; sudden depressed feelings/crying and/or sudden anxiety/OCD thoughts; can’t remember when I last ate.
Thirst: dry mouth; opening mouth a lot; tongue feels weird; dizzy or light-headed (especially if I haven’t eaten); can’t remember when I last had something to drink.
Basic Self-Care Reminders (How I Take Care of Myself on a More or Less Daily Basis)
(Note: This list is things that I /try/ to do, but I have to budget my energy, especially during fall & winter which is my bad time of year in terms of my moods, executive dysfunction, and ability to sleep. Frequently, I only get a small handful of these things done, and I try to remind myself to be okay with that.)
1. Look at / use my moods & communication & self-care reminders board (magnetic dry-erase board)
- today’s date, notes/reminders (write/read)
- anxiety/stress level graph (mark)
- self-care reminders list (read)
- moods pictures/words list (mark)
- communication preferences list (mark, write)
2. Try to remember to take all my meds at appropriate times of day (morning, afternoon/evening, night) if possible
3. Brush Teeth, Eat, Drink water & coffee or tea. Do schoolwork and/or other things I need to do as I’m able to, and schedule in designated breaks.
4. Snuggle/Pet/Play with & Take Care of dogs
5. Weighted blanket & comfort stimming things. Try not to do self-injurious stimming if that can be avoided, or use harm reduction.
6. Self-check-in. Use clues to identify emotions, sensations, thoughts, perceptions. Try to identify my needs at the moment. Remember basics: Food/Water, Meds, Sleep/Rest, Dogs, Sunlight/Sunlamp & Fresh Air, Shower, Clean clothes. I do this like algebra problems, where the variables are the emotions.
7. Try to stop & counter anxiety and OCD and depression thoughts, & try to maintain perspective on altered perceptions as needed if they’re scary or otherwise bothersome
8. Try to balance “peopleing” & quiet alone time. (Mostly I barely talk to or spend time with anyone other than my dogs, my dad and a few other family members, & occasionally friends. That’s okay.) Use AAC for communicating as needed.
9. Try to do things that help me feel better even if I’m already feeling fine. Check on friends online, look at pictures of cute animals & webcomics when I have time.
10. Emergency mad map / crisis self-care plan, use harm reduction, & alert safe people (if any) when I need more help / a lot of help, and when I’m in a crisis. Write down lists of requests for if I get institutionalized.
Among other things, a major part of how I take care of myself most recently is by being sober and drug-free because I’m prone to using alcohol and drugs to deal with my mental health issues, sensory overload, and people overload.
I use several apps & widgets on my phone to help me with reminders and keeping track of things, communicating (HelpTalk text-to-speech app, and social networking apps), calming down / managing anxiety, etc.
I connect online and sometimes in person (organizing a radical mental health group periodically) with people who deal with the same and similar things I do, and that can be a good way to get support or just feel less alone.
I tend to wear a strap with simple AAC pinback buttons (from Etsy shop unspokenVisuals, mainjelly @ Tumblr, who is also autistic!) that attaches to my clothes with a caribiner so I have those for simple communication if it’s hard or not possible for me to speak as well.
I try to keep my headphones with me (especially for going out), sunglasses if needed, a couple stim toys, and a book or zine, and I try to let myself stim (with or without toys, often without) when I need to.
My dad tends to check in with me as well to find out if I’ve eaten anything and whether I’ve slept or not. My sister checks in with me sometimes too, or just sends encouraging text messages so I know she thinks of me. My dogs give me lots of snuggles, sit on my lap, and give me kisses.