Note For Anyone Writing About Me

Guide to Writing About Me

I am an Autistic person,not a person with autism. I am also not Aspergers. The diagnosis isn't even in the DSM anymore, and yes, I agree with the consolidation of all autistic spectrum stuff under one umbrella. I have other issues with the DSM.

I don't like Autism Speaks. I'm Disabled, not differently abled, and I am an Autistic activist. Self-advocate is true, but incomplete.

Citing My Posts

MLA: Hillary, Alyssa. "Post Title." Yes, That Too. Day Month Year of post. Web. Day Month Year of retrieval.

APA: Hillary, A. (Year Month Day of post.) Post Title. [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Thursday, October 31, 2013

My autism and period

Trigger warning: Menstruation

Also have a major TMI warning, because I'm talking about periods and handling them. It's going to involve lots of menstruation talk and lots of blood talk. Sensory issues come up too, but not as much.

Anyways, I've noticed that a lot of people have this thing about autism and puberty and assuming that their kids will handle it (or fail to handle it) in certain ways. Since I'm Autistic and I've been through puberty and I have a period, I'm actually going to give the TMI talk and explain what I do and why I do it. Having discovered that the thing I use is pretty much not a thing here in China might also be relevant. Maybe. [Yes, it very much is. The frustration of not finding tampons at the market and my roommate telling me everyone just uses pads here is exactly what caused this post to come out of my fingers.]

First off: I have heavier flow than most people who menstruate. It's obnoxious for me to deal with. People also worried that it might be even heavier than it is until we found a working solution. It is heavy. I think it's something like “technically hemorrhaging for the first two days every month” kind of heavy. So some of the stuff I say will hopefully be not applying by way of there being less blood to deal with. If you deal with as much blood as I do, you have my sympathies.

On the bright side, I don't cramp much. Either that or my issues detecting pain mean that I'm not realizing it. That happens sometimes, where I am in pain and everyone except me knows because I'm acting like I'm in pain. I'm not actually sure which of these is usually going on, though on the occasion that I do cramp, I can say for sure that it takes me a while to realize it.

Now for the “what do I do and why” bit.

I don't take any painkillers. They mess with my ability to think clearly worse than pain does, and I live in my brain. Over the counter pain killers are actually why I'm super-wary of anything that could possibly affect my cognition- see also, lack of interest in alcohol. I hate the effects that much. Also I don't tend to realize that I'm in pain until I'm well past the level of pain that the over the counter stuff is useful for- that's something I found out talking to a friend of mine in nursing school. Whoops.

I use tampons. Learning how to use them was painful. I wound up crying several times in the attempt, and my memory of it is a little iffy because I was twelve, but yeah. Pads are not particularly useful for me. Because I sit weird and move a lot, even winged pads don't stay where they belong. Even if they did stay, the weird way I sit means that I'd bleed around them. Which is exactly what happens if I fill the tampon and I bleed onto the pad that I'm supposed to have just in case. That's why I often don't have said pad. They don't work.

Pads are also a sensory issue for me, because blood and ick and wet, plus once they start moving around the adhesive starts trying to adhere to my legs. Ick. Bad.

For whatever reason, my cramps are less with tampons than with pads.

If I can't get ahold of tampons, like happened briefly in China (Solved problem, but there were a few days of sad,) pads aren't going to solve the problem. Adult diapers work better than pads do, and that's what I wound up using. They're absorbent, like pads are, but they don't move around as much and the whole thing is absorbent. I can't really bleed around them and there isn't the risk of the sticky part trying to stick to my leg. I'll also wind up using them when I really do need a backup for the tampon, because pads and I don't get along. Of course, the absorbent stuff can still move around within the diaper bit, which can be uncomfortable. It's not as bad as with a pad, but it is still a thing.

So there you have it. I use tampons because of my combination of sensory issues and the weird ways I move/sit. Other autistic people can't use tampons because of their combinations of sensory issues and they ways they move/sit. It's really individual, same as it is for neurotypical able-bodied folk who menstruate. There's not just one thing that's going to be right “for autism” because seriously there's a ton of different ways to be autistic and good luck with that.

1 comment:

  1. Have you ever considered using a menstrual cup?

    I know a lot of people who have very heavy periods have found menstrual cups to be very helpful. And a menstrual cup would definitely solve the problem of finding menstrual supplies.

    (Warning: I'm now entering TMI)

    I use a menstrual cup here in Taiwan (plus cloth pads - due to the shape of my vagina, my menstrual cup cannot form a perfect seal, but some people can get a perfect seal and thus don't need pads at all), which means I haven't had to buy a single thing related to menstruation during all of my years in Taiwan.

    Many people observe that their periods become lighter months after switching to a cup. I didn't experience this, but maybe it's because I had been using cloth before I started using a cup.

    And there's also the environmental considerations - cups are much more environmentally friendly than tampons.

    That said, menstrual cups are not for everyone, and if they don't work for you, they ... don't work. But if you haven't used a menstrual cup, I highly recommend trying it out.

    Here's a sizing chart:

    My own post about menstrual options:

    And another post I read recently about menstrual cups:


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