So, what’s this all about?

Having recently had a Very Late Diagnosis of ASD – I think I can confidently say that 68 is very, very late – I want to share my experiences, the downs and the ups over those 68 years. Fifty of them were spent enmeshed in the mental health system.
I’ll also be featuring the role creativity has played in my survival, as well as reflections, rants, reviews, and photographs on my world and my travels.
And there’ll be quite a few poems for good measure. I hope you enjoy exploring my world with me.

Topics you’ll find inside

My life in words

I think in verse. Not always. Not every day. But – I think in verse.

  • when I’m distressed
  • when I’m heading to shutdown, but more especially meltdown
  • when my head is just so full of STUFF that I can’t get my thoughts into coherent speech
  • when my fear, anger, self-loathing take hold of my being
  • when I need to order my thoughts before they lead to self-destruction

That’s when I think in verse.

And I have to write it down. I have diaries and journals and notebooks spread over many years recording my anguish. Sometimes with an image. Sometimes scrawled page after page. Sometimes just a few lines.

Usually it works, helping to dispel the negatives inside my head. Distilling into a page or two feelings that would take minutes and hours to express verbally.

When I’m feeling OK I don’t write like this because there’s no need. I’ll still write, and I rarely re-draft, it’s still cathartic, but it’s no longer a frenetic act. That’s when I don’t need to sleep after because I’m drained by the experience.

But I still think in verse.

Getting ear defenders: shutting out noise could help open up my world

Better day today. Even coped with the dental assistant who appeared to be able to create excessive noise from even the simplest of tasks. No bin, no drawer escaped being banged as it was closed. But I made it out with a clean bill of health.

I’ve ordered ear defenders as the noise cancelling headphones I have do nothing to shut out the din that is my constant companion when I’m out. They’re OK for their purpose, shutting out extraneous noise when listening to music, but I need proper headphones designed for people with sensory issues. They should arrive tomorrow so a review may be in the offing soon.

We’re off to the Hay Festival at the end of this month so they’ll be a boon around the site. I needed quite a lot of ‘time out’ last year – and the people there were fantastic – but it’s so much better to be able to soak in the whole experience. With the likes of Jo Brand, Sandi Toksvig, Jimmy Carr; historians, philosophers, writers, and so much more to look forward to I do not want to risk meltdown. Oh no.

Shutdown is a real downer

Bit of a shutdown today. Nearly 5 p.m. and I’m just getting into gear – my head, not clothes.

This morning began quite O.K. with me deciding to change my site appearance. Perhaps not the best idea as I’ve only the first one for a couple of days and hadn’t got to grips with that.

With each change I made I found that I couldn’t review it and -worse still – couldn’t get into my actual web site to see how it was looking. When my husband opened it it looked a mess. So, apologies to anyone who witnessed that mess.

I’m cracking on now and hope to create something that’s presentable and user-friendly by tomorrow. Onward and upward …

Will the Real Me Please Stand Up

Decades under the radar of female autism

Last November, two months after I turned 68, I was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Before the naming was changed in the DSM last year it would have been Asperger’s or High Functioning Autism. I don’t mind what it’s called, I don’t mind having another label to join the others, the main thing is that I have a diagnosis that is helping me begin to make sense of my life. I certainly don’t care about the possible trappings of the label. Having been in the mental health system for an awful lot of the time since I was 18, I’ve got used to it.

Characteristically the thought that I might be neuro-diverse came from a book I’d bought on Dyspraxia. I’d been diagnosed with Sensory Integration Dysfunction at 50 and as my difficulties with balance increased I decided to research dyspraxia. I found that my symptoms of SID and those of dyspraxia were identical. Was it an alternate name for the same condition? What I then found was that those symptoms overlapped with ND conditions on the Venn Diagram at the back of the book.

A visit to my GP, and a referral to the newly set-up Autism Service led to an assessment. My ‘scores on the doors’ indicated that I was incontrovertibly on the spectrum. In fact, despite being ‘high-functioning’, I was quite seriously affected. Since the diagnosis of ASD I’ve read countless articles and watched numerous videos to help me get a handle on it. That has been amazing. More specifically it’s opened my mind to how ASD has affected me, mostly negatively, throughout my life; I now have the potential to turn that around.

Watching people who describe their day-to-day experiences is awesome. They are awesome. And I can’t shout my thanks loud enough to the professionals who’ve given me insights into what’s been going on in my life, from the Clinical Psychologist who diagnosed me to the Doctors and Professors I’ve watched on the internet.