On being normal

Ok, that will be a quick post – let’s hope. I was feeling a bit funny the last couple of days again, which I believe was caused by me trying to work out how to work with visual patterns. I believe psychotic state is when we focus on patterns too much and miss their meaning – I’m not sure this is exactly what happens, that’s what it felt too me, but then we need to remember that neurotypical people also experience psychosis. I wonder if for them it works any different.

As I stated here before, I’m on as required olanzapine – an antipsychotic – which is not how it is normally prescribed (it is long term medication) but it works for me this way. If I take it early enough after feeling a bit strange, one tablet is enough to correct it and I don’t have side effects. I don’t have problems with the fact that I may need the script for the rest of my life but it is a bit scary in a way. Psychosis is not a normal state but also ‘normal’ people don’t reach out for medication to correct their mental state when they’re stressed. So it feels to me that just the fact that I’m on meds means I’m allowing myself the chance of having another episode. Does that make sense?

That was the reason why I left my psychosis support Facebook group – it was an extremely supportive community and I felt that my insight allows others to make sense of their experiences (that includes families of people who experience psychosis). And yet, after a few months in that group I felt that just being a member there it’s a notification for my autistic brain that it’s ok to have another episode. I guess neurotypical people don’t experience things this way.

So what I did yesterday, instead of reaching for the tablet, I had 3/4 of bottle of wine. It’s what normal people do to destress, wouldn’t you agree? And it was my birthday.

I feel I need to take a few days off from my digital art now and perhaps focus on blogging. Or possibly cleaning the kitchen! I still have some unwashed dishes after Christmas dinner. I really wish sometimes that I could find balance in life more easily. Yes, doing art based on patterns is great, but possibly I don’t need to spend 11h a day on it? Perhaps this dedication was what allowed me to make a quick progress, but now it feels like I can’t do it any more. I tried today and it was really strange: I was using the same tools than every day but couldn’t get anywhere. I guess the part of brain that works out patterns needs a break but I always believed that progress should be steady and if it’s not, that means one has no talent.

As I stated before the purpose of my blog is to record how I feel and think as an autistic person, so I occasionally allow myself a bit of rambling. But I guess that’s enough for now.

I’m such a lucky girl!

After publishing my last post – that one about punishment – it was brought to my attention that possibly what I am describing (recognising punishment where there is none) is not caused by my ability to recognise patterns but by my difficult childhood experiences. I’d like to discuss that further here.

I did mention here a few times that my dad had mental health breakdown when I was little and he never recovered. His mental health problems were making him difficult to be around and he was physically aggressive towards me and my brother on more than one occasion, but then, I personally know a couple of people who were treated worse by at least one of their parents even though the parent wasn’t going through mental health breakdown, and, considering this is not something that people discuss openly and I’m autistic so I’m not someone who people easily confide in, yet I was told about them, so that makes me think that those situations are probably not as rare as we want to think.

Before my dad had a breakdown he was actually my favourite parent – I much preferred him to my mum. Also my mum never punished me, not even by using natural consequences, so punishment is definitely not something that I experienced a lot in life. Yet, I recognise the pattern easily.

For comparison I will discuss the pattern of ‘luck’ here, that I also seem to recognise very easily, even though I experienced it even less than I experienced punishment.

So, first of all, let me ask you, what do you think luck is? If someone was born in a wealthy family and their education and wellbeing was being taken care of, they are obviously much more lucky than someone who’s parents were struggling to make the ends meet, but they were not more lucky than another person of similar background that they will probably associate with, so what is seen as luck by poor people will be normal for those who are born to it.

What is a lucky event then? It’s something that is positive but also extremely unlikely to happen. If something positive keeps happening to you over and over, you will not see it as luck any more. Possibly it’s a result of a hard work or certain qualities that you possess or just something that you see as normal (like maybe your parents giving you £1k every month – yes, you are lucky to have parents who can afford it and are willing to support you but if you get it every time it’s not luck any more – I hope that makes sense).

I disclosed here a while ago that a few years ago I received a larger sum of money from an unusual source. It allowed me to buy two bedroom flat with only small mortgage, that I already paid off. So in this way I see this as luck, obviously, but the money was not something totally unexpected for me (like a lottery win would be, for example), therefore I didn’t see this as extremely lucky event.

When I think about it, I only experienced two extremely lucky events in my lifetime, and yet, I recognised them as luck straight away and they made me extatic for a few days on both occasions.

First one was during biology test in secondary school. I was not very well prepared, I knew a couple of subjects very well but others not at all. Students in Polish schools sit in pairs of two at the same table, so what teaches often do during tests, to prevent cheating, is to divide the classroom into two groups: lefthand side is group A, righthand side is group B – and each group gets different questions. And what happened during that test was, my group only received questions from subjects I knew very well, while the other one only from those I had no idea about! How lucky that was??? I got 5 (equivalent of A) and if I sat on the other side of the table, I wouldn’t even pass!

I mean, I get it, that didn’t have any impact on my entire education and career but it was positive and extremely unlikely, yet it happened to me. Possibly that is not how neurotypical people see luck, but for me the element of probability is very important.

The second extremely lucky even happened around three years ago. I was walking around a supermarket looking for a particular sauce that I needed rather urgently, and it was not there and there was no staff around to ask. Finally I just decided I’d go somewhere else next day to look for it. It wasn’t a big deal as I generally like shopping, so didn’t mind going to another supermarket but I felt a bit deflated. When I went to the self service check out, I suddenly found it there – it looked like someone abandoned it so all I had to do was scan it and it was mine!

How likely it is that from all the items the supermarket has in stock, exactly what I needed was abandoned and it didn’t get tidied away before I got there? Extremely unlikely, you need to agree on this! And yet, it happened to me – so that made me feel like the luckiest person in the world (well, ok, winning a lottery would probably feel a bit better).

So what I am trying to say here is: even though I didn’t experience many extremely lucky events in life, on both occasions I recognised the pattern instantly. How? Lucky events are often featured in films or are being discussed in social gatherings – so I didn’t need prior personal experience to recognise one. Therefore the same could probably be said about punishment – the fact I recognised the pattern doesn’t mean I experienced a lot of it.

It now makes me think that, possibly, we as society should abandoned the idea of punishment entirely, not only for autistic people. I’m just suggesting it here but it may be worth at least a discussion.

Anyway, it’s my birthday today and I believe I’m 44. I did mention before I’m not into dates and anniversaries, didn’t I?

Punishment – a bad idea

I had a lovely Christmas with The Boyfriend – I will not be describing how our Christmas are different from neurotypical people Christmas as I think it would not really add much to understanding of our needs, but possibly, when I become an established blogger I may add a few words on that, if somebody asks.

The Boyfriend left yesterday morning and I spent pretty much the entire Boxing Day playing with patterns in PicsArt: I found it really fun and obviously the more I do that, the easier it gets and I am now starting to believe that every Redecor design can be turned in a nice pattern, depending on what tools I use.

Before Christmas I promised I’ll write a post about why I believe punishment shouldn’t be used to get autistic children (or adults for that matter) to behave certain way: it is because we, autistics, fit everything that happens to us into patterns that we already know and also, we instinctively believe that everything around us is connected in some way. I say, instinctively – logically we are perfectly aware that it’s not but our instinct tells us otherwise.

So, as you may remember, I did some shifts in a supermarket before Christmas, it was hard work but I really liked working on groceries when it got busy, which is strange because as a client I hate busy supermarkets.

On 22nd after work I did my own shopping and bought a few items to treat myself. It wasn’t much but I bought things I really fancy. After the checkout I put mulled wine and apples into my rucksack and marinated artichokes, cambozola, lactose free yoghurt and mini courgette in oil went to a canvas shopping bag. It would all fit easily into my rucksack but the glass would all bang with every move and I’d find it annoying.

The entire journey home I kept telling myself to remember about the shopping bag, especially that it was navy – almost the same colour as bus chairs. I could have hold the bag straps actually, but I didn’t. Oh well…

When I got home I realised I didn’t have the bag on me. Can you even imagine how that felt? It really wasn’t about the couple of pounds that I lost, it felt like the entire Christmas has been cancelled for me! It’s been good few months since I don’t have permanent job so I stopped buying those fancy food items and now, when I bought some to treat myself for Christmas, I lost them! Those items were a symbol of having good Christmas and they’ve been taken away from me by the Universe – that’s how it felt.

What is punishment? In its more civilised form is an act of taking away something that one values as a consequence of bad behaviour – as I stated above, we, autistics, fit everything that happens to us into the pattern that we know. And we instinctively believe that everything around us is connected somehow. I was running around a busy supermarket for the entire day so that other people could get what they wanted for Christmas, while I didn’t get have what I wanted!

What was the conclusion that I came up with?: it was the Universe punishing me for not working hard enough. Of course I knew it wasn’t true but that’s how it felt, so please don’t say I shouldn’t be thinking this way (which is an expression a counsellor used once with me) because this is how I think. And why I said the punishment was for not working hard enough? I was really trying, but the truth is, with our black and white thinking it may sometimes be difficult to establish what is and what isn’t good enough. I can possibly say that, if I didn’t pass out at the end of my shift I could have work harder – I guess you can see some logic in this thinking.

So the result of punishing us by taking things or activities away from us could be that we decide that we need to always be on our best behaviour to succeed in life, our intentions have to always be pure and we can never put ourselves first. And then we see neurotypical people who are not like that at all and they get what they want. How does that feel?

Let’s take the example of Home Group again. If you only just started reading my blog, I’ll quickly explain what happened: Home Group is a large housing association and disability confident employer. I worked for them between 2015 and 2017. I was bullied by a colleague and, because bulling happens to autistics people more often than to neurotypicals, I asked my GP for autism referral diagnosis and then the diagnostic centre to bring my diagnosis forward due to work situation, which they agreed to do (big mistake!) and, as that didn’t stop the bulling, I left and took Home Group to employment tribunal where they claimed my diagnosis was private and they paid for it. I could have won easily, if I didn’t end up in psychiatric hospital. Oh well…

I realised that I’m autistic in September 2015, sometimes between my interview for Home Group job and the starting date. The job was meant to require loads of contact with people and, as I applied for it I was hoping to use that to learn how to be more social – which is not unusual expectation for undiagnosed autistics. When I realised I’m autistic, I knew it wasn’t going to happen. But I needed a job and also, I was hoping that maybe, with better understanding of myself I’d be able to apply some coping strategies that make working there possible for me.

At the time I didn’t want a diagnosis and if I wasn’t being bullied I’d probably still not have it till now. But believe me, I used to wonder so many times that possibly what happened to me later was a punishment for the fact that my intentions weren’t pure and I didn’t reject the job offer on realising I’m autistic.

The person who was bulling me got promoted to a manager position and now, Mark Henderson, the CEO of Home Group, doesn’t even bother to answer my emails and I never even heard ‘I’m sorry’ while Home Group continues to take government money to support people with mental health problems.

Yet, it was me who believed that I deserved to be punished. Does that make any sense to you?

That’s why I really do not think punishment should ever be used as a way to deal with autistic people. I don’t know what can be used instead but possibly there are researchers out there who can answer this question.

Merry Christmas

For us, Polish, the main Christmas celebration is today, even though the days you get off work are the same like everywhere else: 25th and 26th of December.

I have an idea for a post about why I don’t think punishment should be used for autistic people (kids), even if based on ‘natural consequences’ but hey, am I going to write about that today? No way! Today should be filled with joy, even if you were a bit naughty from time to time during the last year.

Merry Christmas then, everyone!

Mulled wine

I can see I didn’t post for a few days and, unfortunately, I think I may need to lower the frequency of my posts. In a way it’s easier to post every day than just once in a while, as that changes the focus: when I only post every couple days it’s like doing a sum up of what happened recently, which is different from recording pretty much every single thing that I consider may help others understand how I think and feel, as an autistic person; however, since I started doing my digital art it’s difficult for me to focus on the blog and I guess it may need to stay like this for a bit, although I do hope for some meaningful posts in the future.

I continue my Christmas job in a supermarket, I’m off today but I’ll be back tomorrow. I am surprised how well I cope when it gets busy – as a client I hate busy supermarkets, it happened to me a few times in the past that I left without getting what I needed as I just couldn’t cope with the noise and so many people. However, when I work, I absolutely love it: I can’t hear any noise and I ignore people, unless they approach me, I focus on one thing only: creating order out of chaos and making shelves look as organised as possible. I actually regret that I don’t have a shift on Christmas Eve – I am really curious to see how I would cope.

Clients sometimes approach me and ask where they can find certain items and, as it’s not a supermarket where I normally shop, I’m not familiar with it, but I try to help, although a few times, when client asked for things that I never use, I told them we probably don’t have it in stock. I guess it’s my way of prioritising: I don’t use that so they also don’t need it, simple, isn’t it? I’m being sarcastic here, of course.

It’s sometimes difficult to come up with the right answer as the questions I’m being asked can be tricky but I came up with the idea that I should start with ‘Oh, I’m sorry’ pronounce slowly – this gives me a bit of time to assess situation instead of just saying whatever comes to my mind.

I did say to one client though that she can get porchini mushrooms in the Polish shop in town but I guess that wasn’t the worst thing that could happen? I was trying to be genuinely helpful and porchini is not something that you can see in a supermarket, although I must say I never looked for it there because I just buy it in Polish shop instead. Oh well…

The strangest situation I faced was, when a man a bit shorter than me came up and asked me to extend my arm. He wasn’t exactly short, maybe two inches shorter than me, but possibly as a man he felt bad about his height. I did have this idea he wants to ask me to reach for an item from a shelf for him but I didn’t know how to ask about it so I was just standing there with my arm extended like if I was playing in a Christmas panto, but thankfully he quickly said ‘oh yes, your arm is longer than mine, so can you please…’ and then he just said what he wanted. And I thought, obviously my arm is longer, because I’m taller, but I didn’t say that as I thought it could be considered rude. It’s funny though that telling people that they’re short it considered rude, but telling people they’re tall it’s ok. Possibly tall men don’t have an issue with that but we, tall girls, don’t usually want to be reminded about our height.

I’m having a day off today and there is work being done in my downstairs neighbours flat – it’s surprising that just a few minutes of fire could cause so much trouble that neighbours have to be moved. My kitchen only stopped smelling of smoke a few weeks ago. I’m now however a bit concerned thinking that I’ll have to leave the flat for a few weeks at a time not knowing what is happening with it. Perhaps I should make friends with the neighbours, when they are back, and give them a spare key? It’s not something that I’d normally do though.

Oh, and why I titled my post ‘mulled wine’? Because the water supply has been shut by the workmen when I was out shopping, so I’m drinking mulled wine that I bought for Christmas. It’s Polish mulled wine, stronger than local, so I feel a bit tipsy after just one glass. Oh well…

Obsession continues

I woke up at 4am today, which was not extremely early as I went to sleep before 9am yesterday. I am, however, wondering, if I start doing my patterns that early in the morning, will I not teach my brain that waking me up early will bring a reward? I wonder if brain can plan this way, without me thinking about it consciously and when I’m asleep? I don’t know but I decided not to give in and do cleaning instead.

I can be a bit of a messy person but I like a clean kitchen and I realise that from the state of my kitchen one could easily recognise how I feel. So far I noticed my kitchen gets really messy when I’m very tired or depressed, now I can also say it gets messy when I’m obsessed about something. So today, after walking up and having my first coffee, I got up and started tidying. I decided I won’t be starting on patterns before 7am.

I worked out how to use some more tools in PicsArt and that improved the results so I really can’t wait to practice further, however, not before 7am. Oh, one good thing I noticed since I do my patterns: I eat significantly less. So possibly my overeating was caused, at least partly, by boredom? I know that sometimes happens but show me an article stating that playing with patterns is a good way of fighting boredom. No, it’s always watching a movie or calling a friend.

Anyway, my blog is supposed to be about all the things autism related, not just obsession with patterns, I do apologise. I was meant to write how I realised that working in a supermarket would eventually get me to run into the same problems that I had while working in a care home. It’s because things are not possible to be kept under total control. I have this image of a supermarket being a totally organised place where every item has it’s place and a label. But it’s not really like that – labels get missing from shelves sometimes, you know? If I worked there permanently I’d eventually demand an access to a printer and I’d be running around trying to keep everything in perfect order and possibly insisting on other staff to do the same.

More over, my idea of order is not the same as other people idea of order: why are candles organised by scent first and only then by size? If I’m working there temporarily only, it doesn’t bother me too much, I just do as I’m told, but if I was there permanently I’d expect them to be organised by size first. I don’t know why but it just makes more sense to me this way.

On my last shift I spent around two hours removing cardboard packaging from shelves and that gave me strange satisfaction: at least I knew that I was doing that correctly – there was no arguing about that and I knew by doing this I was keeping things in order. I thought for a bit that if I could do only that for every shift, I’d be happy there permanently, but quickly enough I realised there was a mistake in that thinking: after a while colleagues would start asking why I’m only doing that one thing and nothing else and the response would be: because I’m autistic, and it would imply that I’m not capable of doing anything else. But seriously, I have first class bachelor degree in computer science – I must be capable of things, surely? I’m just getting annoyed when I don’t have control over my environment, that’s it. But I’m also getting annoyed when other people think that I’m not capable.

I seriously think I’m not cut out for permanent job, that’s it. I will keep to check in with myself regarding that but it can quite possibly be true.

Anyway… I keep having problems today with putting my thoughts into writing. I guess this is because what I really want to do is to play with patterns… oh well. I do hope my blog will survive this obsession. I remember how much I liked writing here. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

My pursuit of patterns is making me unwell

Well, I really don’t know what happened to me the last couple of days. I become so obsessed with creating patterns of my Redecor designs that I started feeling I may be on the edge of psychosis. Thank god, I at least have the understanding that part of it is probably due to how my brain process visual information (I believe I don’t understand it straight away but instead I try to remember it and work it out later, after comparing it with other, similar images and this is apparently done the same way like if my brain was a computer – mind you, I don’t know how neurotypical people process visual information).

So basically, the last couple of days I managed to create some abstract patterns out of a couple of my designs, and the more complex it was, the happier it made me. Unfortunately, most of the designs don’t seem to work that way – if there is a tiny area of grey or dirty brown somewhere, it gets multiplied and enlarged during processing and it makes everything look ugly and if I put too much effort to remove it, I end up damaging area around it. Black is usually fine and creates nice outline but any other really dark colour is a no no. There are still ways to do a nice image out of many designs, maybe just without turning it into an abstract pattern but suddenly I wasn’t satisfied. I really don’t know why, possibly because my love for patterns never found an acceptance in the external world and suddenly I wanted to ‘show’ to everyone who I really am?

I remember when I just started primary school, so I was 5 and a half, we were told to draw an autumn outdoor scene and suddenly I decided to add an unidentified object in the middle of my drawing: it was shaped like an egg, but it wasn’t meant to be an egg. It wasn’t meant to be anything really. I divided it into several squares and fill each of them with a different colour. If you could only see other kids laughing when they saw it! I never did anything similar again.

Some people love music, I love patterns

I know now that I probably didn’t want to draw autumn scene, I wanted to draw a pattern – and I was made fun of because of it. Throughout the years my love of patterns couldn’t manifest in any way – I was feeling guilty for spending money on cushions while what I really wanted was the patterns on them. A bit less than a year ago, while still in lockdown and without access to entertainment I discovered Redecor and was so thrilled with the fact that I can play with patterns without having the need to purchase physical objects that I quickly started spending real money on the game (virtual cushion is obviously much cheaper). I was not doing anything unwise, I was working full time and could easily afford it, yet, when I told a couple of people, they seemed to have real problem with it. One lady on a Facebook group told me the money I spent could easily feed family of 3 for this many weeks. Well… I was wondering why other people have so much problem with how I spend money – if I spend it on staying in expensive hotel for one night, no one would question it.

It felt like I’m constantly being told something is wrong with me because I love patterns. Even if I loved music, that would be much better understood, but loving patterns was all wrong.

And suddenly I started using an app that allowed me to create patterns. Is there anything strange with the fact that I become obsessed?

I had a wake up call today: there was this challenge on Redecor with beautiful cherry blossom and I wanted to get rid of it from the image because the wig looked weird after processing. But after I did, there was nothing interesting in there. Finally I had to admit that I probably took my love of patterns a few steps too far.

Apart from that I’d probably be fine if I could sleep during the last couple of nights. I spent two last days working in a supermarket. It was ok, busy but I was managing. I didn’t even find it too noisy. But I already managed to establish I wouldn’t be able to work in a supermarket long term, but this is a subject for another post.

Being autistic is so tricky sometimes

Over the weekend Ashley Peterson, the mental health blogger who commented on loads of my posts when I just started (thank you Ashley) asked if we follow back bloggers who follow us. Why asking this question she explained she does if the blog interests her as community is very important to her and my first reaction was to comment that I don’t because, as autistic, I don’t do community. Thank god I managed to realise that could look rude – like if I made an effort to reject her.

Let me explain here, I’d love to be a part of a community, it’s only that it doesn’t work for me. Not only I need to be careful about what I am saying, which takes extra effort, and even if it’s not too hard, now, after I keep practicing for a few years, I can’t be spontaneous and that is a big problem for me. If I was spontaneous with people I’d certainly alienate everyone, although I can be ok when I just pop in and out of different settings. I used to be a part of a meet up group before lockdown, when I could just join events that interested me (it was eating out usually, lol) and ignore the rest and there didn’t seem to be any tight knits there and everyone seemed to love me and find my jokes amusing. So that worked for me, but I knew that if I kept seeing the same people every day or even every couple of days it would stop working. At least I now know that this is because I’m autistic – it was so hard when I was younger and didn’t know what it was that I was doing wrong that people who I know for a bit longer stop liking me. My strategy now is to keep social contacts superficial and at least no one will tell me again to ‘open up’ – which was common in my 30s. What was also common was that when I did open up, people used to get disappointed with me.

I guess autistics who are introverts may actually have it easier because there is less social expectations on them. Oh well.

I spent several more hours doing my images. I’m now much more aware of what works and what doesn’t. Check patern doesn’t work, the same multiple chairs (because legs end up looking funny). Vintage wardrobes work well, unless distressed… it looks like I may need to adjust the way how I do my Redecor designs as loads of patterns also doesn’t work. But then that’s not a problem as I’ll end up with a pattern (and totally abstract one) when I process it in PicsArt. Some issues can be corrected while processing but some are easier to deal with than others.

I only just realised that I never posted about my attempts on painting in acrylics. I always wanted to create patterns while painting but was put off with all the mess that I made along the way and the fact that when I made a mistake all the painting was ruined. The Boyfriend was telling me to keep on practicing but with the commitment of full time work it was too much.

Now, when I see that I’m going in the right direction and I’m worried I may mess the image up, I’ll just save it so that I can start over. I am also having a bit of a problem with overdoing it, I guess this is because I find it so much fun that I want to see what else can be achieved. Hopefully in a few days this problem should not affect me any more.

In short: I got totally obsessed! I’m so glad that I’m going to work today. That will be over 10 hours without digital images – otherwise I’d never take a break. I actually woke up at 3am today… I tried to fall asleep at first but the urge to create turned out to be much stronger.

Change is coming (to my blog)

I didn’t post for two days, I think. I was busy with PicsArt, which is ‘creative platform’ for image editing. I knew ages ago that I can do something more with my Redecor images, I just never got time to do it. I think this is an autistic thing, that I find it difficult, or possibly even impossible to learn more than one thing at a time – for a couple of months I was learning how to blog. It is more difficult for me, I suppose, than for a neurotypical person, as deciding what information shouldn’t go on the blog is not automatic for me, although I’d say it’s not that bad with writing – I can usually stop myself from writing something inappropriate as I type, which obviously is slower than speaking. I am hoping that with time blogging will actually help me to be more vigilant in real life as well.

So what I was saying was, as I started blogging I was totally absorbed by it. Even though posting could only took me an hour a day, deciding what to post about took like 10 hours! I knew I would be able to dedicate myself to learning how to process digital images at the time so I didn’t even attempt.

Only on Friday afternoon I decided it’s finally time and it wasn’t really that difficult. I’m aware I still have plenty to learn but what I’ve done so far is pretty satisfying and also working out how to use the app was not difficult at all.

I will be therefore changing the images from the blog from Redecor designs to… processed Redecor designs. I still love Redecor and will continue to play of course but I guess adding home designs images to blog about being autistic could be confusing for prospective readers. I mean, my designs were usually overloaded with patterns so I was hoping people would work out that means I’m autistic, but I guess when we’re scrolling through the web looking for something, we tend to make quick assumptions about what we see, which is also what I do.

So I started playing with PicsArt on Friday evening and I got so obsessed with it that I didn’t go to sleep till like 4am and then I still woke up only an hour later! But at least I wasn’t worried I’m going to get psychosis, as I think it’s much less likely when I don’t sleep due to positive feelings rather than due to stress. Anyway, one night of not sleeping is not enough to set off psychosis.

I was still playing with PicsArt yesterday pretty much the entire day and I only forced myself to go to sleep as tomorrow morning I’m going to work – I’ll be stacking shelves in a supermarket and I’m starting at 9am, so if I only got proper sleep tonight I would find it difficult to manage.

Ok, that’s just a quick post, otherwise I don’t have much to record. Although, possibly I should add my last update on Professor Baron-Cohen drama: on Friday morning I was so upset about the realisation that he’s probably a narcissist and his aim is not to improve the quality of autistic people lives but to keep his privileged position, that I had to take diazepam – which is not something I do often, and when I take it, it doesn’t really calm me down fully.

So I took it around 10am, I did calm down slightly and at 1pm I received an email from Psychiatry Operations Manager at Cambridge University and the email explained that Professor was advised not to email me again, whatever happens. Shortly after that I fully calmed down and I initially thought that was still due to diazepam, but as I continued to be calm throughout the day, I started wondering whether that could be due to the fact that I stopped obsessively thinking about what to do regarding Professor Baron-Cohen.

I couldn’t do anything: telling him what I really think about him would not change a thing and as I knew he was advised to ignore me, I knew that emailing him wouldn’t help me as I wouldn’t be able to work out what he is thinking from his response or the lack of it. He would be ignoring me because that was what he was told to do, and possibly this awareness was what calmed me down? If so, then Cambridge University at least got this one thing right.

My mood (quick update)

This is just a very quick post to record the change in my mood: I felt very agitated in the morning today and even had to take diazepam, which was probably around 10am – ut gave me some relief but not much and then later, around 1pm I suddenly felt really calm. I didn’t know it can still continue to work that much later. I’m still calm now, at 7pm, I’m on the sofa in my living room enjoying the gas fire and burning essential oils on my oil burner.

I feel quite Christmasy (is that actually a word?), I also don’t think I’ll need to take olanzapine this evening, but I’ll do meditation from Sleep School app.

So that is a great improvement, as I stated in my previous posts, in the morning I was even worried I’ll have another psychotic episode if I don’t calm down, and now everything is so much better.

I need to post about the concept of emotional regulation, but that won’t be today.

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