Aspergers Syndrome- the road to diagnosis as an adult woman

Being part of the online ASD community, one thing I see again and again is adults, especially women, asking whether it is worthwhile getting a diagnosis, and how they should go about it. I am one of those women who’s aspergers was completely missed when I was a child, and had to pursue a diagnosis myself as an adult. So, I am going to write a series of posts about my journey from self-diagnosis to NHS diagnosis. Continue reading

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Catching up on gratitude

Thanks to a few weeks of apathetic depression destroying my motivation to do much of anything, I have got out of the habit of practising gratitude. I try to write down 5 things that I am grateful for each night before I go to bed, which puts me in a positive frame of mind for a good night, whether I manage to get to sleep quickly or not, and I am also doing the 52 week gratitude challenging, which I am now several weeks behind on. So, today I am going to do the last 4 weeks of the gratitude challenge, and tonight I am going to start my daily ‘5 things I’m grateful for’ habit again. Continue reading

Job interviews, mental health, and aspergers

I have been job hunting for months now, and it is an exhausting, demoralising, confidence destroying, seemingly endless process. Filling applications form after application form, sending out CV after CV, day after day, week after week, it has ground me down to a state of apathy. With anxiety making the thought of how my application might be received overwhelming, and depression sapping away my motivation to nothing, I find myself missing more deadlines than I meet, and it seemed for a long time that no one would ever even consider employing someone as useless as me.

And then… an interview invitation. For a job I actually really really want. My first response it to have a panic attack, and 10 minutes later I’m lying on the floor calming down and thinking “I can’t do this”. But I can, and I did. Continue reading

Finding freedom in forgiveness

I have a habit of holding grudges. I will still occasionally think about people who hurt me over a decade ago, carefully tending the injuries they left, ensuring that the memory of their actions doesn’t fade, and thinking about how satisfying it would have been if I could have struck back at that time, or imagining what I would say if I met them now, how I could hurt them with my words or show them how insignificant they and their actions are. Of course, they aren’t insignificant to me, because whenever I spend my time thinking about them, remembering the hurt, I am making them a significant part of my life; but, it is important to me to think that they would know that they are nothing to me.

In truth, I know that the reality is that rather than them being insignificant to me, I am actually insignificant to them. They probably don’t remember me, never think about me, don’t care about whether their actions are still hurting me any more than they cared all those years ago. And that hurts. I want them to acknowledge that their actions were hurtful and wrong and to feel regret for what they did. I want them to recognise me as an important person who’s feelings matter, to face the fact that they caused me pain and to feel that pain in return.

Of course, that will never happen. I’m most likely never going to meet those people again, I’ll never have a chance to hurt them in return, and my grudge will never have any effect on them. The time I spend thinking about them, wanting to get back at them, is time wasted. Worse, it is time that I spend hurting myself. Those wounds should have long since healed, and instead of letting them do so I rip them open again and again. In doing this, I am not just hurting myself, but I am giving those people power over me. Whenever I think about them I give them the power to negatively effect my life, to control my feelings and actions without them ever knowing.

So, I am making a conscious and dedicated effort to let go of the past, to let those old wounds heal, and, most importantly, to forgive the people who have hurt me. If I were to meet those people now, I wouldn’t try to think of ways to hurt them in return, or make them acknowledge my importance or regret their actions, I would let them go on in peace, and be glad that I have not contributed any more pain to them, or to the world. Whenever I find myself thinking about past hurts, I stop, acknowledge that that time is long gone and that I have grown and changed so much since, and instead of wanting to pass that ball of negativity back to them, I let it go, let it drop and roll away, never to hurt anyone again. I let the power that I give them over me go, and step forwards into freedom. It is so much better here.

 

Gratitude challenge: Family

Welcome to week three of the Gratitude Challenge!… So, anyone who is remotely aware of the date has probably noticed that this is not actually the third week of the year. I am very behind on my posts. This is because over the last few weeks I have been having a major depressive episode, and have been barely capable of finding the energy and motivation to get out of bed, let alone actually do something constructive like write. Today I’m feeling more motivated, so I am going to try to further boost my mood by catching up on my Gratitude.

Today I am being grateful for my family. There is so much to be grateful for when it comes to my family. I am grateful for my awesome parents who let me live with them for free while I’m unemployed. I don’t thank them for this nearly enough… in fact I don’t think I have ever thanked them for this. I have always taken for granted that my parents will always be there welcoming me back into their home, willing to spend their money to support me, even now that they are retired and money isn’t quite as abundant as it used to be. They manage to respect my independence and treat me like an adult even while I am living in my childhood bedroom with pictures of flower fairies on the wall and leaving clutter around their immaculately clean and tidy home. They are supportive when I struggle with mental illness even when they don’t really understand. They are encouraging in my search for a job and understanding over my upset at being unemployed. They are always there to give cuddles, kind words, advise and help whenever I need them, and they deserve recognition for adding such value to my life. I’m going to go thank them right now.

Forcing out the words

When I am very anxious or upset, or in a confrontational situation, I sometimes have incredible difficulty speaking. Not in that I can’t find the words (although I find that difficult to, that’s not the subject of the post), but physical difficulty, sometimes its impossible to speak at all.

I just spoke to my mum about my mental health. Despite living with my parents I have not until this point told them about my mental health problems. I am an adult and they respect my privacy, so it hasn’t been hard keeping this from them, but today I made the decision to actually talk about it. This immediately sent my anxiety levels through the roof. I am not good at talking about myself (the main reason why I find keeping this blog so helpful, writing is so much easier), even talking about simple every day things stresses me out, so talking about something I am very self conscious about is incredibly hard.

I had to start the conversation by giving her a note saying “I have something I want to tell you but it might take a while. Please don’t leave or interrupt”. I then sat in silence for 10 minutes trying to start my prepared speech, sitting with my back to her because I couldn’t stand to actually face her while talking. I made choking noises. Got up and made myself a cup of tea. I managed to get three words out before having to stop again for a few minutes. I started crying. The words seem to get stuck in my throat, and I just can’t force them out. In total it took 45 minutes to say 5 sentences, and it has left me with a sore throat, a splitting headache, and a poorly tummy from swallowing so much air while trying to force out the words.

Anxiety makes even the simplest things hard.