Sunday, 22 September 2013


So...I finally finished my degree, and was awarded a BSc First Class Honours, and am totally thrilled about that! (That's my first lie of the day by the way! Thrilled is not how I'm feeling at the moment, it's just my kneejerk reflex whenever I get congratulated).

I've had a few weeks off before I'm due to start my first job as a nurse, and have noticed how dependent I have become on my coping mechanisms over the last year and a half or so. I've always been an obsessive reader, but it's gone to another level now. I'm very withdrawn when I don't actually have to be out of the house seeing other people, it's like I'm so overwhelmed by the stuff that I'm doing to be successful at my course, on work placement, and seeing family, that when I'm at home, I don't even want to think for one minute about how I'm doing, or be aware of myself.

I'm pretty sure I'm depressed, in the sense of having an anxiety disorder, something I was diagnosed with a few years ago. Even when I'm on my own at home,while the kids are at school, something which has hardly happened for years, I don't want to leave the house, or preferably my bed.

I'm having tests for chronic pelvic pain, which comes and goes regularly, and varies from mild to severe, and my jaw problems have returned, due to nighttime toothgrinding and daytime jaw clenching.

I have a feeling I should be doing something about all this, at least I have finally tackled the pain issues, which I suspect are stress-related. But the mood stuff, I just don't want to go there. I know when I think about it that the low mood is preventing me from asking for help. I have had lots of counselling in the last 15 years, most recently I did start counselling about 3 years ago, after my self-diagnosis of autism, once the kids were diagnosed and it was crystal clear that I also had it.

I wanted to talk through some stuff about being autistic and how it's affected me throughout my life. The counsellor had a different agenda, to do with short-term fixes, and indicated that obsessing about the past was not productive. I suppose that ideally I would like to go back to a Jungian therapist, and explore how I deal with being autistic on a daily basis, and the shame that I feel around my difficulties, and concealing these in the workplace.

Another classic quote from a mentor I had in the workplace:

"I don't understand it, you're fine when you're working with me, but with other people, you just seem to put their backs up."

When being supervised by people who work with people for a living, it's difficult, I pass for normal most of the time, but people find it hard to understand my inconsistencies, brilliant at some things, but startlingly bad on occasion at other things. I take longer to learn things than other people, but once I have it, I never forget it. I get very anxious if I feel somebody is close to spotting my autism. I had real difficulty with a nurse I worked with briefly who had an autistic child. She massively objected to me and tried to get me thrown off the course. I don't think she knew what it was, but there was something about me that just drove her crazy.

I think my personal tutor has sussed me out, she more than anybody has seen my inability to fill in an attendance form correctly (too impatient), and my written work being sometimes below what she knows I'm capable of (same thing), while I can convey my knowledge and passion on unlimited topics verbally for hours, no problem.

So the course is over, but now I have to take my autistic tendencies and my anxiety into the real workplace, and deal with all the NHS bullshit that I have managed to avoid up until now by dint of not being employed by them! Needless to say, the prospect of 'passing' as normal, long-term while surrounded by empathetic and observant women, is quite scary.

Hopefully I will continue to get away with brilliant and eccentric, and occasionally surprisingly clueless. There's enough of us out there! In the meantime, I have to come to terms with the question of anti-depressants or not again. I couldn't take them during the course, as they fry my brain too much to manage all the coursework. But I think I could manage to work while taking them, I did it before. While I'm reluctant, I think I need help digging my way out of this ditch I'm in.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

So...I've been reading lots of Sherlock fanfic, in fact, quite obsessed with it (surprise, surprise!). It's been really interesting reading different writers' take on Sherlock's apparent social difficulties. Some follow the BBC Sherlock suggestion that he has Aspergers, as voiced by John and Lestrade in Hound of the Baskervilles. Others focus on his self-defining as 'high-functioning sociopath' in the first episode. However, the sociopath diagnosis has some serious problems with it, mainly because his whole character arc through both series has been about us gradually seeing Sherlock coming to terms with his emotional needs and consequent vulnerability.

It's great to see yet another brilliant TV character who appears to be autistic, and is living life to the full, regardless of how other people react to his frequent episodes of social blindness. I wish that I was a consulting detective sometimes, so that I could do the same, open up my naturally flamboyant nature to its full measure, and say "Fuck it" about anybody who's offended. He's lucky to have John Watson who finds him brilliant and amazing, but it's noticeable that he's single.

In fanfic world, his infuriating habits and obsessive behaviours just make him more adorable, more amazing, more brilliant. Sadly, in real life, not wanting to talk to anybody for days on end, because you're obsessed with something, doesn't go down well, especially if you have children. I've been in that kind of headspace for the last three weeks, in the last year of my course, and just wanting it all to be over, trying to get my studying done, and just wanting everybody to get lost, so I can have some peace and quiet, to soothe my stress levels a bit.

I've been getting zonked in fanfic, as an escape from real life. Reading has always been my favourite way out of my head, where I can completely forget who and where I am. I read extremely fast, (hyperlexia) and can spend easily 14 hours a day reading when I'm trying to get out of my head. I am aware that this is not 'normal' behaviour, and probably is turning into an addiction, more than a coping strategy.

I have always been very careful about letting my addictive personality out to play, I became addicted the first time I fell in love, which was a cautionary tale. Since then I have pulled back on relationships, so I can stay in control. I never use illegal drugs, after using them for a long time, and finding that even supposedly soft drugs generated addictive tendencies. Even over the counter painkillers are a temptation for me, and benzos in particular are problematic.

Is there a connection between autism and addiction? I feel there must be some  crossover between obsession/addiction, please comment if you have a view on this, I'm sure I'm not the only autistic person who has these kinds of issues.