Pandemic struggles

I’m not good at recognizing how I am feeling. Emotionally or physically, it’s all mostly guess work. And this is reflecting in my ability to take care of myself too (that and just plain emotional stuntedness) – if it isn’t fixed by food or sleep then I am plain stumped.

I’m not exaggerating – once at University I fully dislocated my knee, rather than just subluxing it as normal, and as it was 4 in the morning and all my flatmates were sound asleep, and for want of any better ideas, I just popped my lower leg back in line with my upper and went to bed. Sadly I did not wake up in the morning magically fixed and spent most of the next day in A&E, and on crutches for 6 months or so.

The point is, since March I have eaten and I have slept a lot. I’ve had weeks where I have had lots of exercise and weeks where I have just chilled all day long. I have had weeks where everything has been perfectly balanced. All while taking the anti depressants I need to keep going just normally. But I am just so so tired. I keep waiting for things to balance out and become some sort of normal again but the fact is my life has changed hugely since March, and not in any way that I would have expected or chosen.

I guess I need to accept that the new normal is to lack normalcy and that to be on ‘hold’ waiting for life to right itself again is harmful in itself. I can treat the symptoms – taking care of my body through eating well, sleeping well, exercise and rest, but it is not a lack or excess of any of these which is the actual problem. But how does one treat the stress and exhaustion that comes from the world being in turmoil?

Small steps to reach out

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. The theme is connection – reaching out to others, sharing, peer support and social support etc. This is easy to say but for many, really hard to do. Reaching out requires you to take a big step and initiate contact with someone, yet often people who find themselves alone suffer from depression, anxiety, self doubt and that small slithering voice that tells you that the common denominator in everyone who left you, every friendship that never stayed, ever missed connection, is you.

Continue reading “Small steps to reach out”

Weight Loss on the NHS

I first put the below as a twitter thread earlier this week but decided to also share it in blog form as its quite a long read!

This is not something I talk about much but feel it is important to bring up with the discourse around obesity and government campaigns today. I first went to the doctors for help with weight loss 4 years ago. This was just after an awful depressive period where it feels like I did nothing but sit in the dark and eat for three months. This is when I started to self-diagnose as having binge eating disorder too. We have lots of obesity, heart disease and diabetes in my family. I didn’t really know what I wanted when I went to the doctors, other than help. I got prescribed orlistat 3 times a day (stops you digesting as much) and sent to Weight Watchers. And that was that. Continue reading “Weight Loss on the NHS”

Coping with the ch-ch-changes

It’s no secret that I really struggled at the start of lockdown and in the lead up to that even. I don’t cope well to change or to being told what to do and found it very frustrating that while I was trying to ignore everything and keep my head frmly buried in the sand everyone around me was preparing for the unknown, making plans and changes ‘just in case’ and all in all really disturbing my sands of denial. Continue reading “Coping with the ch-ch-changes”

Being Vulnerable

I’m not someone who is very open with my emotions. Probably this is in part due to being autistic – I am not always super clear what my emotions are and growing up (undiagnosed) emotions were very dangerous territory – life could be difficult if anyone though you were thinking or feeling the wrong things, and how were you meant to know what the wrong things were? Also growing up we were a lot closer (geographically at least) to the English side of the family and they were very old school stiff upper lip Mr Banks English. Good people, just not visibly emotional.

When I volunteer as a Samaritan, people often question what the point is – how are we meant to be helping them when we can’t offer advice or any practical solutions or help. The answer, part of the foundation of how Samaritans works, is that just talking about how you feel and what’s going on in your life can be really helpful. It can be therapeutic to put out into the world everything you are feeling or might be feeling or know you really shouldn’t be feeling, but… without receiving any judgement or advice. Just time to put a name to your feelings and accept that they are there and that it is ok to feel that way. For some callers, being able to talk through everything they are going through helps them process and make sense of what can seem overwhelming. Continue reading “Being Vulnerable”

Living with constant uncertainty

Many people have talked, or written about uncertainty and the coronavirus. How it has broken routines, some of which were years in the making, made life a series of unanswered questions and completely disturbed any vision of the future that you might have had.

Uncertainty doesn’t have to be big though. It may well be instead a series of smaller uncertainties that build up over the day that do the most damage to an autistic person – small situations that they can’t control leading to exhaustion and meltdowns or shutdowns. Continue reading “Living with constant uncertainty”

Dreaming of the past (the past past)

At the Women and Girls conference one of the speakers talked about how autistic women and girls like to escape to a fantasy world to avoid the difficulties that being autistic can bring in this world. This world can be anything- one made up completely from their imagination, one found in a book etc, but for quite a few its the Victorian period that they escape to.

This strongly resonated with me. While clearly not winning any awards for most feminist period, it was a time that was presented as simpler for women and as an autistic girl, undiagnosed, at times that seemed like a dream. Continue reading “Dreaming of the past (the past past)”

Conference recovery

Having attended the National Autistic Society’s Women and Girls conference on Tuesday, today I am officially tired. As it was all the way up in Manchester (I have been North more times in the last 10 months than the rest of my life put together), I had a 4.20am alarm.

Follow this with the stress of travelling, the even stressier stress of making my way through Manchester to the conference and then a day of learning and tweeting and socialising, and it was all in all a very exhausting day. A day I would do again in a heart beat, maybe tweeting a little less, but exhausting.  Continue reading “Conference recovery”

Decision making

I like to think that I tend to make good decisions. My never slowing brain is constantly considering all the possible options and ways forward, so when it comes to decision making, I think things through and consider all the possible options and make a decision based on that.

A lot of that goes on in my head- it’s not evident to those around me as there’s no logical working to be done. My mother has commented on this on more than once occasion: “you did jump into this very quickly”, “you didn’t really take your time and think it through” and so on. This tends to only come up should I not be too pleased about a choice I made though – the apparently quickly made good decisions are not to be questioned.  Continue reading “Decision making”