…for a year.
With a tear…
So… a LOT has happened in the 2 year gap on the blog. I’ll attempt some chronologicality… but this covers the past 12 months.
- I was referred to an Adult Neuro-developmental Services Centre…
- …and was formally diagnosed with High-functioning ASD (fka Aspergers).
- My job got scooped out from under me and I was shunted into a previous role.
- Myself & TheChimp separated.
- I was involved in a minor car accident, with major implications.
- My grandfather died.
- TheChimp moved out.
- My cat died.
After much a kerfuffle trying to get a handle on the ongoing battles with depression / anxiety (which involved the realisation that CBT simply wasn’t working as I couldn’t relate to the emotional bases on which it seemed to be founded) myself & TheChimp headed to my GP to probe deeper. This resulted in a referral to SAANS, 50 minutes drive away. I think there was about 9 weeks between the referral and the appointment… as I was out-of-area for SAANS (although they are the nearest specialist centre) they would have to apply for funding from my regional consortium which resulted in the delays. Turns out apparently this would be necessary for each appointment.
SAANS is a pleasant place. Set up specifically for folks on the spectrum – comfy waiting room, help-yourself catering… all designed to help you feel as unintimidated as possible. The process was a one-on-one discussion lasting several hours between myself and the specialist. TheChimp came in also to assist where I was unable to verbalise a response.
At the end of the process the specialist went away to review everything whilst we went for a coffee. Ultimately I came away with a formal High-functioning Autism (fka Aspergers) diagnosis, an information pack, a follow-up appointment (subject to funding clearance) in case I had any questions, instructions to continue on current medication, with a full diagnostic report to follow by post.
That was about the size of it. It looks like the process may have changed nowadays however…
Time to sit back and let it settle in and decide how to handle things from there… then…
I’d been seconded into my role at work and had been doing it for 2 years. A change of senior management occurred and they decided to advertise it out. I applied, interviewed, didn’t get it, and was shuffled quietly back to the role I’d been seconded from in the first place. Since then, I’ve effectively worked partially in both roles, getting hauled back and forth mentally & physically on-demand. Then the replacement left, and I was back in the role to plug the gap whilst they recruited AGAIN. This time I didn’t bother applying. Wasn’t subjecting myself to the stress again. I’m now just finishing the handover process to the n00b before returning back to my former role. Fun fun fun.
TheChimp has her own set of issues, which were basically incompatible with my set of issues. I’m not going into the details, thinking about it hurts physically. We separated but stayed living together in the short-term. If you’re a follower of hers you’ll have read glimpses of it on her blog. If you know is both you’ll have seen it play out on social media.
I can’t go into details on the car incident either. Suffice to say I was suspended from work pending investigation, and subjected to a Facebook lynch mob calling (quite unnecessarily as a result of someone posting utter bollocks) for my death. The outcome was that I had done nothing wrong and was cleared of everything… however, because a technical assessor had to come and look at my car, which took him all of 4 minutes for a brief visual check, that counted as a second claim on my car insurance in a year, wiped out all of my NCB, and resulted in the premiums going up by a factor of 10.
My grandfather died. His children fell apart fighting between themselves over funeral arrangements & handling of the will. Their children (my generation) glued ourselves together to deal with it.
TheChimp moved out. Heartbroken, both. The cats stayed with me as she couldn’t have pets at her new place. Practicality: household income halves, and the debts distributed. Partnered with car insurance rises, my outgoings now exceed my incomings. I play a dicey game with prescriptions to juggle the finances, resulting in prolonged periods of crapness.
My experiences with long-term relationships can be summarised thusly:
“It’s all good at the start but after a while when the meltdowns and shutdowns start and the literal thinking takes it toll, lack of spontaneity is boring and ridgedness to routine is frustrating and the inability to get empathy at critical emotional times they forget who they fell in love with because they think you can change. Then they (can’t help but) think your an asshole, weird, uncaring… and leave you (for their own sanity)” – Bryn Graves (and me)
Fortunately, myself and TheChimp have remained friends. 13 years is a lot to just forget.
The worst. My precious beloved Noodlecat, partner in crime for 11 years… cancer. Myself & TheChimp reunited to handle this. The process was dragged out over about 3 months. Finally we decided the best option was to have her put to sleep. She died with her head in our hands. It was, and still is, the most painful heartbreaking experience I have ever endured, and continue to do so. As an added kick, this sapped up another grand of finances. Her ashes currently reside in a box in the back toilet so TheBoy doesn’t try to eat them (again). We’re still waiting for a suitable opportunity to scatter them (which will probably be tomorrow!)
…and that brings us more or less up-to-date with present day. The dust is settling. I’m hoping for a trauma free few months so that I can actually find my feet, work out where my head is at, and decide how to handle things for the future… what I am and where I should be. How to handle loneliness & living after 20 years of consecutive long-term relationships working as a duo.
Options for getting out & about are limited by my own mental issues, and severe lack of funds for the next 2 years minimum… if I’m to stay living where I am I have no choice but to cut back everything where possible to make ends meet. Money left to me by my grandfather has been eaten up fairly rapidly as a result of outgoings exceeding incomings (don’t get me wrong, it didn’t ALL go on this, I did make sure I treated myself with some of it).
This HAS to be my focus for the immediate future – I must find a way to turn things around so I break even at worst, but preferably come out with spare cash at the end of each month to buy a spontaneous bag of Starmix or summat.
The upsides… I’m still in the same house. My environment around me hasn’t had to change (yet), so I still have the benefit of a home I feel safe in with familiar things surrounding me.
Time to reflect.
Oh cute little pussycat how can it be
that I always seem to find you attached to my knee.
Your kingdom awaits you, vast territories to roam
but yet you prefer to use me as your throne.
On my thighs you will curl, after plumping them just right
By my feet you will purr, keeping toes warm at night.
And yet there’s a thing, I wish most of all for you…
It’s been a few weeks now… things are starting to settle.
I’m having up days and down days; the ups come in large chunks, but are interspersed with severe down days. Today may be one of them judging by the fact that it’s gone noon and I’m still in bed doing everything possible to avoid having to get out of it. Completely lacking in motivation.
13 days since the last post. Oops.
It’s been a mixed 13 days. The majority have been ‘up’ days – I’d give it a 60:40 split in favour of ‘up’. Colleagues at work and TheChimp at home have all noticed a change since I started on the citalopram. Only way to describe it is that I’m now more switched on than I am switched off… and actually engage in conversation every now and then. I do feel calmer and less stressed in general, although the darkness pops in with a vicious reminder in fleeting moments here and there.
In my opening blog-resurrection post (*woof*) I mentioned things coming to a crunch. Here’s the short version of that crunch, written by my partner theChimp…
Having kids is hard. Having a kid right at the top end of the autism spectrum, with ADHD, OCD, Pica, and assorted other ‘labels’ is hard. Imagine looking after a baby. One who has no awareness of danger, or consequences. Even if the consequence is death. Imagine that he doesn’t care where he wees, or the fact that cats don’t like it if you push on their eyes or that eating one mouthful of something then demanding something else, something else, something else, then deciding that your own pyjamas/socks/pants/poo actually taste better anyway even though it will make you violently ill as a consequence or that running into the road is as fine and normal as climbing out of your bedroom window.
Imagine that child is ten years old, yet still does all these things. And imagine that this child only makes noises, a bit like a car alarm, for the entire day/night, and doesn’t have language, doesn’t understand language. Imagine this child can only communicate using action, not words, uses pointing, dragging, giving. Imagine the frustration when he cannot make himself understood. Imagine the tantrum. Imagine having to try and restrain a ten year old boy with muscles so strong from all his ten years of tensing up because of tics and involuntary coping mechanisms which has actually given him the strength of a 14 year old. Imagine having to restrain this boy who has no perception of consequence to himself or others, who eventually treats it as a game, a stimulation that he likes, and wants you to do it again, again, again! Imagine having to do this whilst not being able to explain to him why you’re doing this, knowing full well he will do it again, and again, and again. Imagine being on edge every second of every day, watching like a hawk, assessing, risk assessing, and coping with the fallout…
Don’t know if it’s the citalopram, placebo effect, or just an up day, but awoke feeling quite perky today. Also awoke ridiculously early and have been doing so since I started on the meds.
My perkiness could well be attributed to the fact that theBoy was ill this weekend. A curious thing to say, but in reality when theBoy is unwell to the point of throwing up he’s dramatically calmer and easier to cope with. All his OCD, ticks, stims, frustration and self-harm stop and he becomes a poor ‘iccle bundle sucking his thumb quietly, wrapped in a blanket…
As if in sympathy Spock, ancient tom and general layabout has joined me in abscessness. He suffers from them as frequently as I do thanks to a dodgy ear he’s had for as long as anyone can remember. Sure enough, it’s started to look a mess again today… Cue lots of cuddles for him from theChimp, and twice-daily bathing with hibiscrub as per vets instructions. If it gets worse we’ll be hauling him in for an antibiotic jab tomorrow…
I have stood on the rim… teetered on the edge, and finally taken the plunge: I’ve filled in the paperwork for counselling.
I think the prospect of counselling is the scariest part of everything going on at the minute. I’m from a family who never really talked about issues… don’t get me wrong – I can talk about them, but there are always bits that get left out. Part of me is simply scared that the counsellor will say “there’s nothing wrong with you. Suck it up and get on with it” – that or “there’s nothing we can do”.