Having Hyperlexia/Autism as an Adult
I've been on YouTube for three years... This is the very first video that I am filming... Where I do not have my iconic, dip-dyed blue hair. :( If you have not seen my first video, I highly recommend you see that video first because it goes into detail about Hyperlexia [VIDEO MIGHT BE TAKEN DOWN SOON IDK BECAUSE IT WAS VERY INACCURATE]; which is what I have, but I hopefully will explain Hyperlexia and my autism better in this video. So yeah, let me introduce myself for those that don't know me: hi! I'm Peyton Justine, but you may call me PJ.
By the time this video is probably going to be posted, I will have just turned 20 years old, and yes, I am an adult with autism. So what I was going to do is actually show you guys the diagnosis papers from when I was like 5 years old that actually proves that I have autism, but that's a little boring. Instead what I'm going to do is, I'm going to show you guys a little key thing that I made a couple years ago. So basically, what I did is: I Googled the word "autism", and you know it's a disorder. So, whenever you Google like a medical term or something, it'll give you like all the lists of the side effects of it, or the details about it on like the side of the page or whatever, and that's what I did with "autism". So naturally, I decided to make a little chart out of it. So for a lot of this video, you'll be seeing this chart on your screen. And it's basically, been the same chart that I've been using to explain to other people how my autism works.
More specifically, what I have: Hyperlexia. So, I'm just going to start off by explaining the key and hopefully some of these will turn into stories here. Here we go! So let's start off with things that I have never done. And there's only one, and that is: lack of empathy. I have always been able to tell another person's emotions and basically recall them for myself like, "Oh! that guy's sad. That guy over there is happy." Like, that's never been an issue for me. That's pretty easy, but again, I can't speak for all autistics when I say this.
Alright now, let's go with things that I used to do and the first one we're going to start off with is: inappropriate social interaction. So, this is the part about Hyperlexia or autism in general that most people don't understand: we can't interact with people. But over time of course as we get older, a lot of people with autism or more specifically a little milder form of autism like Asperger's or Hyperlexia, we kind of break out of our shell a little bit and start to actually get the idea of how we're supposed to socialize. So the reason why I highlighted "inappropriate social interaction" in yellow is because obviously, I know how to greet a person now, but after that..
I'm pretty much screwed. Self-harm. Now, I did self-harm myself when I was a kid.
I used to get really really angry at myself if I couldn't do something right. Now with Hyperlexics, we feel the need to win at everything; even if it's something small like a video game. So if I don't win a video game, sometimes I get really mad at myself because I know I could have done better, or I hold myself-here, it's probably a better way if I explain it like this: I hold myself and pretty much all of society to a certain standard. If we do not meet this standard, I become very upset and very disappointed in mostly myself because I set that high of a goal, but again I used to self-harm, so when I didn't meet this standard, what I used to do, and this was also because you know I was really stressed as a kid, and I don't know if you can really see it on camera, but this little like... Nub right here, the skin will start to peel right here and basically what I used to do is: I used to just take nail clippers because I'm a nail biter, and I would just clip off that part of my skin. Just..
This whole entire area right here until I started bleeding. Barely where like... The blood would start to seep out. And I don't know why I did it. I don't know why I chose that area, but if I did something really wrong I used to do that, or I would like grit my teeth really hard and like... Curse yell at myself. Speech disorder.
Okay. Now, I had no idea okay? My mom only told me this like a week ago, or something! I'm like, "Mom, why didn't you tell me this earlier?" But anyway... Where I literally could not open my jaw to produce any words whatsoever. Like I could eat, but I couldn't like produce words or anything, and I had no idea because I don't remember any of this! This was like when I was 1 1/2 or 2! I don't remember anything from then! And finally, learning disability or speech delay in child. Since I highlighted that in "used to", obviously I'm not kid anymore. So, it's been a while since I've updated this thing.
We're going to move into the red. Which is what I rarely do. Aggression. Very rarely do I do this. Very rarely do I get like angry with myself. It's only if something like... Really bad happens that reminds me of my past that I actually do this, so it's not that bad, thankfully.
Compulsive behavior. Now, I do have a little bit of OCD. It's not really bad. I wouldn't even call it OCD, actually, but sometimes if there's a change in my schedule... I feel like I have to have a consistent schedule everyday or something or just I have to have some kind of normal routine, and if someone changes it or screws around with it, I feel lost and definitely like out of place, so I guess actually this should this whole entire thing should be blue.
We're going to get to that next. Persistent repetition of words or actions. Now, this was definitely a thing that was very common for me as a kid. It didn't matter who it was.
If there was someone on TV. If it was one of my friends, I would try and imitate what they did because I felt like it was cool. I... Oh man, why did I do this? But I do it anyway. My mind's just like, "You have to do it! Just do it, PJ!" Poor coordination/tic.
So, I'm pretty clumsy. Just the other day, I was getting out of my car, and I was like holding a fountain drink in my hand, and you can probably tell what happened next... I dropped the soda, and it just goes all over the side of my car door, all over my pants into my purse, everything was just... Covered in like half the cup of soda. And yeah. I'm thinking to myself, "Oh. I got this! I'm not really worried about it," but then... It goes really wrong.
And then tic. So, this should also kind of be like in black because I don't really have any like... Uncontrollable movements. Like once in a while, I will like, jerk my body in some way, but I don't really think it's due to my autism. So, we're going to skip that one. Constantly walking on tiptoe.
Okay, this one this one's really strange. So, I actually wear these shoes all the time. They're like... These are my favorite shoes ever because they're like high-heeled boots, right? I wear them because not only do I feel really tall, but I feel like I'm walking on my tiptoes. I finally figured out why I love high-heeled boots like that! Okay, and that was it... For the red.
Oh, you thought we were done? Oh no, no. We're not even to the actual stuff that I do every day yet. Now we're there! This is where things start to get good. Let's start off at the top here. Basically what I said earlier, autism is literally where you can't interact with people, so things like difficulty with communication, difficulty with social interactions, and repetitive behaviors... [are] not that surprising. Now this obsessive interests part. Okay, so that's basically: me obsessed with music, me obsessed with Coldplay, me obsessed with pretty much everything that I talk about on a personal level.
That's all the obsessive interest. So we're-we're good with that, right? I don't need to explain further on that. When it comes to behavior, we got: crying. Now, here's an embarrassing secret: I cry every single freaking day. I cry whether I'm happy, whether I'm sad, angry, depressed. I don't... It doesn't matter.
I cry every day at least once, and it's just... It's really embarrassing, and I don't think even my best friend knows this. Like... Don't even come near me. You don't want to. I promise you. You know sometimes, I actually get sick of myself. :/ Hyperactivity.
So these are where really cool Greek and Latin stems come into play. "Hyper": it means "over", so "over-lexia"... Basically means I can read higher than my level. "Dys", means "bad". Dyslexia. So, Hyperlexia and Dyslexia are literally the exact opposite... Pretty much.
So, hyperactivity, hyper meaning over, over activity. Basically, the same thing as excitability. Outside of this camera... Nah, you won't see me hyper. It's just on my own with my really close friends... Do I actually really get hyper. Hyperactivity is also in ADHD, which I do have thanks to my counselor, who actually... Diagnosed me with a year ago.
I could have had it my whole life and not-and not have known! Irritability. I do get irritated pretty easily if it's on something that I'm very passionate about like music. I can't really think of a good example right now, but I have forgotten about the side categories on the little chart I made here. So, notes: we're going to take a break from the chart and actually go to this for a second. "I have also been diagnosed with Dysthymia AKA chronic depression". Oh yeah, if you guys didn't know this: I actually have four confirmed mental disorders.
I'll give you a second to process that... And I take no medication for these whatsoever, so if I'm doing fine, then cool, okay? I'm very proud of myself. I don't need medication. I got this, okay? I got this. Here we go.
Here's what the irritability comes in: "I only show aggression when someone doesn't get my point; even though I have explained it several times". Especially when someone spells my first name wrong. Why do you think I go by PJ? "Yes, I still repeat things that people say even if I don't know what they mean to me. To me, it sounds cool". That's echolalia. Which is the main diagnosis for any form of autism. If they have echolalia, that's a pretty good sign that they're autistic because whatever they hear, they pick up on it, and they say it back to you. That's how [most of us] learn to speak, people.
"Music = obsessive interests". This shouldn't surprise anybody unless you're not subscribed to me. Oh yeah, then surprise! I'm a singer-songwriter, and I'm also an actress because it allows me to be creative and express myself in a way that I can't with actual words! And there's one more, but it's at the very end so I'm going to come back to it. I know, I keep switching back and forth between these I guess that's another system of autism is that... You just can't keep track of things and... ADHD- how did I survive this long? Nonsense word repetition. Echolalia.
Poor eye contact. Yeah, hey. Hey guys out there, okay? If I'm not looking straight in the eye and I start blushing all of a sudden and acting shy around you, it's not because I like you, it's because I'm freaking shy as h***. Stuttering. I still stutter all the time and probably during this video, I actually left the stuttering in this video. Because with being a YouTuber, you can edit all those things out you get as many takes as you like, But I wanted to show you guys that yes, I actually do still stutter and even though it's very embarrassing on my part, you know, people do it all the time, and it's something that I shouldn't be ashamed of anymore. I know, but I still am, but if I really get to know you good enough like my best friend Marissa, who's been my best friend for like 15 years, we're good. Like I don't stutter in front of those people.
I don't really stutter in front of my family or anything like that. Yes, I am actually a professional actress and when I went back into a call back, I was like trying to ask this guy who was working for the movie like a question, and I kept like trying to reformat it in my head, but reforming it out in real life. So I was like, "Okay, so where do we-*stutters*?" Ugh... Anxiety. So the 4th mental disorder that I have technically is Social Anxiety [disorder].
So, if you didn't count them all during this video, that's Hyperlexia/Autism, ADHD, Dysthymic Disorder, and Social Anxiety [Disorder]. The biggest one for me is social anxiety because that is a major part of autism. I don't know if Dysthymia is associated with my autism, but pretty much ADHD, Hyperlexia, and Social Anxiety are all associated with my autism, so... Wow, it's a lot for me to explain. And finally, finally, we have sensitivity to sound and light. So this is where I go back to the notes part: "I have both sensitivity to sound and light. May explain why autism is linked with rain" Now, here's a really cool thing.
I'm from Seattle, and stereotype: it rains here A LOT. But actually not as much as New York, surprisingly! My dad, who is probably watching this YouTube video-hi Dad! Sent me this article oh man... A long time ago probably years ago, and it said something about how autism may be linked with rain because they kept finding like more autistic people in rainier areas of the United States. And I thought it was very interesting too because my favorite weather happens to be rain, and I can actually see in it! And during one of my livestreams as well, I explained that even if it's like mostly cloudy outside or completely cloudy, I'll still have trouble seeing like I have to squint my eyes every single place that I go, and people will be looking at me like, "What are you doing?" And I'm like, "I can't see a freaking thing!" But I actually do think I'm going deaf too because in this ear, and I actually had to stop just now you may have seen it if I left it in, but I had to like click my jaw back closed, and that's because this ear keeps like crackling or something and I can't really hear out of it. Like, I'm almost like partially deaf and it's kind of actually scaring me. Sounds have been really loud for me recently and I've kept hearing really random ringing noises that actually hurt in my ear. I'm only twenty, guys. Anyways, ugh.
That's a lot of information for you guys to take in, but that is currently how my autism basically functions. Now, I should have clarified this in my very first Hyperlexia video, but I do not know which type I actually have I thought I had type 3 for a really long time, but I figured that most of the symptoms would have "faded" [I've overcome] away by now, but some of them have actually gotten a little bit worse over time. So, my theory is I might actually have a combination of both 2 and 3, but I don't exactly know. But I will admit that I was "more autistic" when I was younger and the really rare part about Hyperlexia is that a lot of autistic symptoms "fade" over time. [i should've clarified this i meant a lot of symptoms i've overcome since i was a kid, but they will always be at least slightly there]. Which is why a lot of things on that list were things that I either used to do or rarely do it's because I'm slowly Overcoming a lot of them [BINGO].
You know as I get older. I made this video not just to raise awareness of Hyperlexia, or autism, but because I really wanted to give everybody an idea of what having autism is like. When I was younger, I thought that everything I was doing... I knew I was doing things a little bit differently, but I thought they were completely normal, and as I got older I came to realize... Wow, you know my life is so much different, and I know that I've said that's over and over and over again, and I'm going to say it over and over and over again until the day I die because of my autism and the repetitiveness, but I'm just so fortunate that my autism fades [THAT I'M ABLE TO OVERCOME MY AUTISM] as I get older, and that I'm able to use..
Hyperlexia as a super ability. It is a super ability, But it's like a it's a "blessed curse". I get to tell the story of what it's like to have autism and then as I get older those symptoms of autism slowly 'fade away". So, if you guys liked this video and/or if I gave you a better idea of what it's like to have Hyperlexia or autism in general, go ahead and leave me a big thumbs up and if you want me to make more of these types of videos I would be happy to hear your feedback. I get people coming to me all the time when I tell my story they say, "Oh! My son is autistic or my grandson, my brother..." just someone with autism, and I love hearing these stories.
I never get tired of hearing someone talk about someone else they know, or maybe even themselves, who have autism. I love to ask what type of autism they have and I hope to hear Hyperlexia [or now PDD-NOS because I was misinformed before making this video], but I never do. I've never heard Hyperlexia. It's usually Asperger's or classic autism, but I still love to hear it. So, don't be afraid to like message me about any questions you have about autism or leave them in the comments below. I'd love to hear your story. I love to hear just anything, and until next time baibai. :).
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