Autism Spectrum Disorder

I haven’t posted in a while cause to be honest i’m scared, confused and very lost. I’m still coming to terms with being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and what it means and what effects it’ll have on my life.

I’ve always felt that i’m a different and that something has been ‘wrong’ with me since childhood. But when ever I’ve approached the subject or spoken my mind I’ve been told that i’m being silly or just making things up. I’ve always been the weird one and the outcast, and I’ve tried to cope by pretending and trying to fit in and to ignore how I’ve felt and thought. However now that I’ve been diagnosed with ASD, i’m trying to accept how i feel and what i think is ok and to try and express that. But it makes me wonder who I am, as i have been pretending for a long time.

Most people who are diagnosed with as ASD are diagnosed when they are children. I’m 34 and have found that there is not a lot of help or support for autistic adults out there. majority of self help guides and support groups are for children and their parents. I Just dont know where to turn. There is a lot of other medical conditions which are linked with ASD and I have numerous symptoms and alarm bells are ringing, but when trying to express this to medical professionals they dont seem to care or understand. From everything i’m reading and learning it seems i’ll soon have a medical degree myself. lol

All of this is making my Anxiety and Depression worse.

Conflicting Beliefs

I’ve been continuing with my counselling and its been going quite well and we have been zeroing in on certain ideals/beliefs that i have grown up with and has been quite surprising in some of the “answers.”

I have always believed in the best of people, even if others have warned me about them or If I’ve heard something about their past, I can only see the good. Maybe they have changed, maybe it was just that once, or that it was the circumstances at the time. This has been my downfall numerous times.

I also expect to be treated badly by everyone, maybe this belief has just come from my past experiences, (abusive relationship, Bullying throughout school, disability discrimination, Homophobia), If i expect to be treated badly, then i can be prepared for it, if it doesn’t happen then that’s great. but this conflicts with seeing the good in everyone.

During counselling we established that I find that I unless I can do something to the same level as everyone else I feel that it is a failure. I do have disabilities both physical and mentally and I don’t believe personally that should affect how I preform. Everyone else can do, so would shouldn’t I? Yes it takes me a lot of extra work and is a lot harder for me to do things, but i don’t personally make allowances for it. If i do, then i find that i constantly have to prove myself, prove that i have difficulty, prove I have disabilities, prove that I have to work twice as hard and prove that I can do it. What some people find easy can be a very difficult and daunting challenge for me. Due to this I rarely find anything to be proud of or find something successful. Even if i did find something to be proud of, i don’t really show it as I think people will make fun or not see it as a particular accomplishment. So Physically and mentally, I know i’m not the same as everyone, but I Still hold myself to the same standards as everyone else.

So I can confirm my Mind is quite screwed up. It really is fighting itself in everything I do, as its trying to work out which belief is the right one. No wonder i suffer from Stress, Anxiety and Depression.

Losing grip on reality

I feel am losing my grip on reality. I just don’t seem to know what is real or what i have dreamed / made up / imagined. It’s a bizarre feeling. I seem to have lost the ability to put things in chronological order / timescale. Things that happened weeks ago seem like yesterday and things that happened today/yesterday seem to be from weeks ago. I don’t know if this is a coping mechanism or something else. Am getting confused with things that have actually happened and things that i have dreamt and imagined. I know i’m not losing my mind but my mind just seems to be a lot more jumbled than it normally is.

I Struggle with getting things done, always thinking I’ve got plenty of time to do it and then realising that i don’t. I’m stressed and worried because i feel like i have so much going on at the moment and in reality when sitting down and working it out, its not a lot 2 or 3 big things and there’s nothing i can do straight away its waiting for appointments or waiting for the correct time to arrive. When I was ‘well’ before my breakdown, i was working as well as coping with everything else and now i cant seem to 2 or 3 things. It is so depressing and humiliating. I know i’m unwell and not in great health but it just feels wrong and makes me feel guilty and makes me feel like a failure and i’m letting everyone and the world down. I didn’t ask to be Ill and don’t like asking for help, but know i’m struggling. It’s very difficult to ask for help as i don’t know what help is needed/required or what is available.

I’ve recently restarted counselling and this may be what has thrown me out of whack lately as we did talk about a number of different things in-depth. Its scary being scared of everything and talking about it as it really does make you think you, you are crazy.

On the flip side there has been some good things happening.

  • Restarted counselling, I know its small steps and its working on one problem at a time, but anything is better than just stopping and doing nothing.
  • Under going tests for Autism It’s not another thing I suffer from, but a solution or answer to why and how i react / think of things. And so far things are making a lot more sense in regards to this. Have only had one diagnosis session so far and the result was that i have autistic traits in all 4 areas.

Where to start?

Argh! Don’t know where to start or what to do for the best. I have so many different issues both physically and mentally that need addressing. I have noticed however all these issues overlap and interact with one another. The way the mental health team and the GP work is to focus on one issue at a time. Which in theory would be a good idea, but by doing this its causing different issues to get worse or has unintended consequences.

I have just finished an ‘Anxiety group Workshop’ course of treatment. To be honest I think it made things worse than it did in actually helping. It was good to find out and hear from others that they were experiencing the same anxiety symptoms as I was (although for different reasons) so I learnt that I wasn’t alone and that I shouldn’t be so scared of the symptoms of anxiety. But it did show how bad and deep my depression was, we had an exercise where we had to challenge ‘negative thoughts’ and turn them into positive ones. For example I’m nervous of going out of my flat. “Something bad will happen if I do” so we had to change it into a positive thought “something good will happen if I go out” but I found that although I could make up something and change it into a positive I didn’t actually believe it and just made me more depressed.

Things that need to be sorted:

Depression – Have had depression for around 15 years, It comes and goes but is always there. I was in an abusive relation for 6 years, in a job that i was constantly bullied in for 10 years. A lot of people have taken advantage of me and my good nature, which makes trusting new people difficult. Have struggled with coming to terms with my sexuality, and struggled with my disabilities – Dyslexia, Hearing loss, musculoskeletal issues, mental health issues. and often depressed about money. Feeling low increases my anxieties. I have been suicidal and don’t want to fall back into that.

PTSD – Still getting flashbacks and nightmares of the events in 2013. This increases my anxiety and depression.

Anxiety – Because i’m anxious all the time and have physical symptoms (sweating) and panic attacks means I often don’t go out, makes me feel guilty and stops me from doing the things i used to enjoy and this makes me depressed.

Health – Due to musculoskeletal issues I’m constantly in pain, which makes my mood low, I tend not to go and get anxious that if i do go out i’ll be in pain or make it worse and i’m not in the right mental state to face surgery on it. I’m on 13 tablets a day, which i know is a lot and proves to me everyday that i’m unwell and increases my depression and my anxieties. I’m very conscious of my hearing aids and how people might react to it.

It’s only a brief description of the things i need sorting, because theirs lots more involved and i’m not comfortable sharing or bringing up everything at the moment, hopefully will give people an insight into how everything is interlocked and overlapping. So when your focusing on one single issue the other issues get worse, and its like taking one step forward and 2 steps back. GP wants to know how i want to move forward with my treatment and what i want to focus on, but i really don’t know as everything is connected. Nothing is worse than anything else, they are all as bad as each other. Ideally would need to work on all of them at the same time to slowly reduce the effects but the Health system doesn’t appear to be set up to accommodate that.

Darkness of Depression

I cant seem to win or move forward with my recovery. People keep telling me that i’m doing well and they have seen improvements but whats happening in my head/mind doesn’t agree. I seem to have so many problems that its always playing catch up, sort one thing out and another rears its head. If its not anxiety, its depression or PTSD or Physical issues, not forgetting financial troubles.

For the past 2 weeks I have been attending an anxiety group workshop. It’s been difficult on so many levels, this week in particular as we have been focusing on Negative thoughts. This just seems to be making my depression darker/deeper. Which in turn is causing anxiety as i don’t want to end up like i was at the beginning of 2014 when i was suicidal. The current focus of the anxiety workshop is focusing on negative thoughts and turning them into positive thoughts. I’m really struggling to find any positive thoughts that i believe though. Which is making me feel depressed. The medication i take for my anxiety and depression doesn’t allow me to feel anything, it reduces or blocks my emotions, which i have mentioned to the GP and she’s happy for that to continue as she doesn’t want me to be depressed or suicidal again. I currently take 200mg of Sertraline which is the maximum dose. So if i did go back to the GP for a medication review, it would mean changing the medication i was and trying to find one which works again, which isn’t the best idea, i think as that too could increase my anxiety or depression.

I hate feeling like this, i wish i could feel something else. Just don’t know where to turn. I’m in therapy, i’m on medication i’m doing everything i can but just seem to be getting worse.

Running on Empty

Feeling both physically and mentally drained. Its been a while since my last post, but this past month has been exhausting. I feel I’m just going through the motions.

I have completed my one on one counseling sessions with Bury Healthy Minds and am now on a waiting list for group anxiety therapy. Their will be 8 to 10 people in the group. Hopefully I will be able to cope with it and come out stronger than when I went in. During my one on one sessions with my counsellor she recommended that I had a blood test done by my GP and that I get referred for an Austism test ( GP agreed and just awaiting appointment). The results from the blood test came back and showed high levels of enzymes in the liver, so GP has referred me for an Ultrasound at the hospital.

Having an anxiety condition and suffering from depression I have difficulty waiting on things. Waiting on referrals or test results, gives time for my mind to race through the what ifs? Hopefully one day people won’t have to wait.

My counsellor, family and friends have all wanted me to reapply for PIP (Personal Independence Payment). I had been holding off on this as its so complicated and delves deep into thoughts and physical issues. I had already received and completed a medical questionnaire back in December for the DWP (department of works and pensions) and said I might be called for a health assessment. So wanted to get this out the way first. After 3 months I hadn’t heard anything so applied for the PIP.

My worst nightmare came true when I received both the PIP form and a letter asking for me to attend the health assessment, arrived on the same day. I’m so scared, its my illnesses and me being judged and vetted. I understand the need for them, but wish their where less intrusive ways, and better questions than “So why haven’t you killed yourself yet?” Being asked. I know in my mind its a standard question and why they ask it, but makes me feel insignificant, unwanted and makes me feel a burden and wasting peoples time.

I didn’t choose to have physical illnesses and didn’t choose to have mental illnesses but they way I have been treated wether intentionally or not, makes it feel like its my fault. Which then makes the depression deepen and the anxiety worse. I’m sure I’m not the only one to feel like this but really is a poor way of handling things.

My GP has changed and increased my pain medication, is a lot better than the last one but doesn’t completely rid me of pain. As anyone who’s been in pain for a long time can understand it too leaves you feeling exhausted.

I really did think I was getting better at the start of the year but the past 2 months have shown me that although there might have been some improvement there is a long and hard road to recovery to go. That is indeed if I can recover. I know I won’t ever be the same again, but hopefully I will be able to wake up in the morning with enthusiasm and have a pain free day followed by restful nights sleep eventually.

Anxiety is Building Up

Anxiety is building up and can feel i’m struggling / fighting off a panic attack. I’ve had a lovely few days with my parents who came to visit and i’m quite proud of myself i pushed myself a lot and survived big crowds and lots of decision making. Even though it was family i am very socially tired. Its kind of hard to explain, but when you’ve been active and been in a high anxious state for a while, you need a number of days to relax and chill out to get your anxiety and stress levels down. Something that i think has definitely improved compared to a couple of years ago, but does leave you feeling both mentally and physically drained.

I’m very worried/scared/anxious about getting the new Hearing aids. Have had a hearing aid for my right ear for just over a year now. And now I will be getting one for the left ear as well. After getting my first hearing aid, i realized how much i had been missing and felt so guilty and angry at myself for not realizing it earlier. I don’t know If having 2 hearing aids will make the alot of difference or not to what i can hear, hopefully will, but nervous about it all the same. Then there’s the interaction with the hearing aids and the TV, Telephone and mobile phone. Will i then need adaptations to use these? (TV Loop System, Special hearing aid compatible phones). Its a lot of unknowns and i know there’s nothing i can do about it until i get the hearing aids fitted, but i’m still panicking over it anyway. There’s a part of me that’s exciting about it, i know how much a difference my first hearing made.

Then as we go into April, benefits are reviewed and changed. Monthly payments for bills (Gas, Elec, Water) Have been changed as well. I wont know whats happening or whats going out and what if anything i’ll be left with after. I hate talking money and fiances and really dislike change. Again I know there’s nothing i can do right here and now, but i’m panicking about it.

I So which there was a simple switch to turn off my emotions, I really do hate feeling this way and still feel so very guilty that I’m mentally unwell. I always expect the worst, that way its a surprise if things are better than imagined, (Will need to talk about this to my counselor and see if we can do anything to work on it, it might come down to confidence issues again).

I Have looked into a number of disability pages and grants and to be honest its all very confusing and don’t really know where to start. Most of them you need an assessment or need to contact the charity/company directly, but when your scared of everything and really don’t like meeting people or talking on the telephone it leaves you a bit lost.

Stop the Stigma of Mental Illness..

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

We have all heard this expression as kids.  While this may have seemed like a great tactic to use on the playground in self-defense, words actually CAN and DO hurt.  And the pain caused from them often lingers long past the healing time of any cut or broken bone.  Some words can cause pain that may never go away, or create an “invisible” scar that one carries around their entire life.  The memory of painful words can lead to a lifetime of anxiety, stress, anger, resentment, and fear, among other feelings.

stigma

  1. Get over it: It’s so easy to say these words when you are frustrated or “fed up.” Someone who ruminates or harps on the same things over and over can truly affect your own mental health. Someone who, for example, is severely depressed and continually speaks to you about a depressing situation, can make you feel depressed. Your thoughts may be “please get over it!” It’s perfectly fine to have your thoughts, but be mindful with what you say. It’s really easy to come across as uncaring, even if you don’t mean to be.
  2. You are not the only one: This statement can be said in the heat of the moment during an argument or period of frustration. This statement is often used by some people as an attempt to encourage another individual to get motivated to do something. For example, you may feel as if the person suffering is using their condition as an excuse to avoid doing things such as seeking employment, keeping a job long-term, or doing household chores. I’ve often heard this statement made from some parents to teens who are struggling with depression and tends to avoid doing homework or stays isolated in their bedroom.
  3. Don’t use this as an excuse: It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by a person’s condition and begin to think “they are using this as an excuse to avoid their responsibilities.” Be careful because this doesn’t have to be the case.
  4. You aren’t trying: When a client is told that they are not trying, they are likely to not try at all. This is called a “self-fulfilling prophecy.” A self-fulfilling prophecy is a type of phenomenon that occurs when someone is either told something that they begin to believe as true or when the individual himself begins to tell his own mind something that is eventually believed to be true. For example, a teacher can tell a child “you will never pass this test with your behavior” and although the child is very intelligent, they can actually begin to believe what the teacher has said and unintentionally underperform. We must be careful how we word things and how we express concerns. Some individuals with mental health conditions are truly trying, trying to the best of their ability. To say “you aren’t trying” can come across as judgmental, arrogant, and uncaring. It’s certainly okay, however, to share your concerns with the individual and ask them how much they feel they are actually trying.
  5. You can’t be like this forever: Sadly, I have heard many parents say to their adolescent child that “you cannot remain this depressed forever because you have to get into college.” This placed an insurmountable amount of stress on the individual and even led to worsening depression. Some individuals will recover very quickly with the right amount of medication and therapy while others may suffer for years. Making this statement will likely lead the person to feel inadequate.
  6. Get out more: Again, you don’t want to come across as judgmental or as uncaring. To tell someone suffering from a mental illness to “get out more” makes it sound as if you think the person is either strange or too isolated. You want to be careful how you share your concerns of the person’s isolation.
  7. You are lazy: Some individuals with mental health challenges can come across as “lazy,” especially those who struggle with depression or severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia. But it is important to keep in mind just how ill the person is before you make such statements. Laziness is a “character flaw” not a symptom of an illness. A person who is appearing to lack motivation is probably going through a mental or emotion struggle of some kind. You don’t want to make them feel bad for struggling with an illness. The most important thing to keep in mind is that if the person could see themselves or help themselves, they probably would.
  8. Do not assume you know how the individual feels. Even if you’ve gone through the same situations, or have the same disorder, everyone is different and handles these things differently.
  9. You are just being a brat: Some children and teens who are struggling with behavioral problems or mental health challenges are often unable to control their own emotions and behaviors. It is not very helpful for the child or his or her self-esteem to make statements such as “you are being a brat right now” or “just grow up, you are so annoying.” These statements can, again, be judgmental and confrontational. However, we all know that children push limits and boundaries. We also know that parents get tired and frustrated. But does this make calling the child a name (i.e., “brat”) helpful? Does it contribute to escalating everyone’s emotions? Does it cause the child or teen to see themselves negatively? Does it make the child or teen feel unloved or misunderstood? If so, I encourage you to avoid using such terminology.
  10. You are so sick: I have had the unfortunate experience of hearing some parents or guardians call their child “sick.” It’s a word that paints the individual as “strange,” “weird,” or “crazy.” It does not help the individual understand themselves and it does not truly convey the frustrated person’s emotions. It only serves the purpose of condemning and hurting the other person.

think

Feeling Overwhelmed..

Am Feeling so overwhelmed and don’t know what to do. Just feel like crying.

I Haven’t slept properly in over a week, When i wake up i’m in a highly anxious state. So Much trapped wind as stomach wont settle. Causing me to have burping fits, this is bringing up stomach acid and giving me a sore throat. I’m sweating profusely all the time.

Christmas is meant to be a happy joyous time and at the moment its totally stressing me out. I Wanna do so much and cant. I didn’t get to enjoy Christmas last year due to my breakdown and had hoped to make this year extra special to make up for it and all my plans are falling apart and i’m right near to the end of my tether of saying “F*ck it” and calling everything off as it’ll be easier and less stressful. The same feeling i had last year and i don’t wanna do it. Its the small things that are getting to me. Waiting on presents to arrive and worrying they wont arrive in time and Money worries.

Got a lot of things coming up which we have been working to, Complaint to Greater Manchester Police about the lack of duty of care and the events of last november. Waiting to here if i qualify for Concessionary Travel in manchester with my health issues. And trying to sort out plans for Christmas and New Year.

Its all small little things that are mounting up and cause a big issue.

Just don’t know where to go or what to do.

OverWhelmed