Me and The Lady

I’ve been watching Rebecca Zung lately again as I found her videos really informative. Rebecca Zung is an US divorce attorney and ‘narcissists negotiator’ as she calls herself. She seems to know a lot about narcissists, definitely much more than me, however, she’s focused on divorces and not on working with one so it’s hard to say what her advice would be.

I did say, when I just started blogging, if you are autistic and find yourself being targeted by narcissist at work, get out of there as soon as possible. I am wondering now, whether that is a good advice, as it only allows narcissists to get away, one more time, with their malicious practices. But then, after I found out what they are capable of, I would not feel comfortable to advice to anyone to stay and fight. We’re just not equipped to win this fight, unfortunately, and we need to remember that neurotypical people also loose in the fight against narcissists.

I never discussed the situation in Home Group in more details here (and I will not be emailing CEO or their customer service after I post this, as they’re clearly not bothered) so I’ll do that now.

The person who was giving me troubles was senior to me but she wasn’t a manager. I called her The Lady in my story and I’ll keep this nick name for her, as she indeed was a real lady, when she wanted to. She could, however, also play ‘the girl next door’ if she decided that would suit the situation better. That’s why, I think, it could be so difficult for people to pick up on her issues, as one just don’t expect someone who is so friendly and familiar to have nasty intentions.

As you may, or may not know, after a long period of feeling that I was being bullied but had no evidence, I left my job in Home Group and took them to employment tribunal. In the response to my claim Home Group stated that my autism diagnosis was delivered through AXA occupational health and it was them who organised it while in fact it was on NHS and they never got involved. How come that lie got as far as into official document for employment tribunal?

Nice, isn’t it?

NHS waiting time is normally really long but my appointment was brought forward when I made the diagnostic centre aware of my work situation and as a result I only waited three months. Bringing the appointment date forward was really not a good thing: not only it made me believe that diagnosis would protect me from bulling but also it made it easy to believe for other staff that my diagnosis must have been private, that’s why it was so quick.

When me and my diagnostician discussed my employment support plan she at some point emailed me almost ready version as a word document and I then forwarded it to my manager, just to give her something as she seemed really eager to solve the issues between me and The Lady. It was in May, as far as I remember, or possibly beginning of June. I now believe that word document was used to make it look like it was provided by AXA and The Lady made the manager do it. The manager was going to retire in September the same year so she was probably hoping to get away with it. And why she agreed for it in the first place? Believe me, The Lady could turn anyone’s life into hell, she could get tenants to give other staff trouble (that’s what Rebecca Zung calls flying monkeys) and those two knew each other outside of work too.

Obviously at the time I had no idea what was happening, I was just getting disappointed that the diagnosis was not a solution I was hoping it would be.

At some point I actually wanted to leave, but then a combination of factors made me decide to stay and fight for my rights. One, very important factor was the fact that I started feeling terribly sorry for my dad. He had mental health breakdown in his 50’s and never recovered. I believe the breakdown was caused by sensory issues – he was undiagnosed autistic and worked as a welder. Going on disability, however, didn’t bring him peace. I think it was because he never understood why he couldn’t do the things that were coming easily to others. I believe he’d be much better off if he was supported to find himself a job that he could actually do. I was getting angry with all those psychiatrists who saw him over the years and no one would ever suggest he was autistic, but then, psychiatrists at the time weren’t trained to look for it, and the thing was my dad was atypical autistic, a lot like me: cravig for social interactions, telling jokes and driving loads of attention to himself while in bigger group of people and yet not having even a single friend.

So my dad was just one of the factors, but there were other too. Around that time The Lady started talking about people who are unhappy at work and yet, they do not leave. They should leave, she woud say, and I knew she meant me. So I thought, I won’t leave. I’ll stay and I show her she shoud have not been starting that silly game with me.

Well…

To make myself looking like a desirable person in the team I contacted a couple of people within the company and as a result I wrote a short article about Asperger’s syndrome (that’s how I used to call it at the time) to the company magazine and I also gave a speech about it during our away day, in front like 100 people – all when I felt badly bullied and when I had to take antidepressants to survive.

The speech went well, however, and I had people congratulating me. The result? A few days later another manager that I used to get on well with and trusted her started being nasty to me. What caused it, I really don’t know. I can only imagine that it was The Lady who got it organised but what it was she said, I really don’t know.

As that was our area manager I doubt she was told my diagnosis was private, as she would have to authorise the payment for it, so I guess The Lady must have come up with something different for that particular occasion. It was all too much for me and I went off sick for a couple of weeks.

Rebecca Zung says in her videos that to make the narcissist stop doing nasty things to you, you need to hint that you’re ready to expose some uncomfortable truth about them. I didn’t watch her videos at the time, possibly they were not available yet as it was 2016, but the problem would still be, I didn’t have anything that I could expose about The Lady. We worked together for a few months only and, despite the fact she was very chatty and craving social interaction all the time, she was actually very private person, only telling you what she wanted you to know about her. There was no way I had anything to expose.

So that is my question for this post: to leave or to stay and fight? I’d advocate leaving and yet, I know it’s unfair.

I feel a bit sad (possibly even rejected)

So, The Boyfriend came to see me yesterday, which is quite usual for the weekend, although not each of them, and today in the morning he read in the traffic updates that there has been ‘major incident’ on the motorway so there are delays and therefore he decided to leave just after 9am, to be at home at the usual time, as he said, which is just after lunch.

And that is what I don’t understand, why making sure that he’s at home at the usual time is more important for him than spending more time with me? It seems to me like he’s doing the same thing that I used to do, when I was in Poland and had to organise mum’s stay in the private care home: I focused on problems much more than on the benefits of the situation – I referred to that as inability to play an infinite game or, possibly ‘seeing the wood for the threes’. However, I was doing that as I was under a lot of pressure, while on a normal day I can be quite relaxed person. The Boyfriend though seems to be focused on problems on a regular basis. Possibly it’s because he has much more demands in life, his job is stressful and, as much as I am aware, he still has some leave to take from last year, his mortgage is taking up significant percent of his salary, his home needs major improvements and his car needs some repairs. I don’t know, it could be due to that but I sometimes wish he was a little bit more relaxed. I don’t know if anything can be done about that though, because when I feel like that, nothing that other people say or do make me feel any better.

That’s why I let him go early, I’m trying to be understanding of whatever he needs to feel better, even if I don’t support his choices. It’s tough one, isn’t it? Both of us having Asperger’s could mean, for an average observer, that we should understand each other better, but I really don’t think this is automatic, especially that, as I said, I am normally quite a relaxed person. As long as I don’t miss the last train home, I’m fine – that is usually my thinking. And yet, if my local bus comes two minutes late, I get so fricking upset, that you can’t even imagine. And this is regardless of the weather of if I’m in a rush anywhere.

I think whether we get upset about something or not is much more about our own perception than what is actually really happening. Luckily lately the time table disapeared from my local bus stop and checking it online somehow doesn’t have the same effect on me – I mean I don’t get irritated because the bus is late, even though it’s winter so I can get quite cold. I just wait there, rather patiently, telling myself that the bus will eventually come, like it always does.

So I’m wondering what can be done so that The Boyfriend understands that he doesn’t have to be home at 1pm on a Sunday, only because he always did it before. I’m wondering what can be done so that he stopped bringing his books over when he comes to visit (he can read them at home every single day) and how to prevent him from getting anxious when we don’t have anything planned. I sometimes think it’s impossible, he did say he has troubles with connecting with women and in fact it looks like that’s true. But then, we’ve been dating almost six years now, I’d expect he’d learn how to talk to me about things that don’t involve burgers, pizzas and beers. Oh, pardon, he didn’t talk about beers for at least 3 months.

Something recent

Or maybe I’m just getting bitter because I didn’t sleep well last night? I didn’t sleep well because The Boyfriend needs to give me hugs most of the night and snore almost directly into my ear. Funny thing, the hugging doesn’t disturb his sleep at all but as soon as he’s awake he needs to read one of his books, or the news for that matter.

But I love him anyway. And, how to say it otherwise? At least he doesn’t disturb me too much when I need time for myself, like some other guys did in the past.

Otherwise things are fine, I suppose. My energy levels are back to normal so I not only have sufficient amount of teabags for at least another 3 weeks but also some mulled wine. I’m just drinking it now. It’s quite nice, but weaker, both in taste and in the amount of alcohol than Polish mulled wine, and that is a bit of a problem. However, after I drank Polish mulled wine a few months ago (it’s not just seasonal thing in Poland) after not having it for a few years, I didn’t like it any more as it seemed too strong. Strange, isn’t it? Perhaps the solution would be to buy both and mix them? But I’d then end up drinking two bottles, not just one. Oh well, let me think.

So what I was saying, my energy levels are back to normal since yesterday. That means it took me three days to recuperate after my LLOP driving experience. The training that I attended was two days only and the first day was in the office. The second day it took approximately 5-5.5 hours in the actual warehouse, with all the noise and in cold. And I’m telling you, I thought I was coping. Yes, it was unpleasant but I thought, it’s only for a few weeks, I’ll just make sure to have rest at home, I’ll be fine. Now I know, I wouldn’t be. Perhaps warehouse jobs are not for me then. But it was worth going, if only to find that out and to understand how detrimental effect sensory issues can have on me. Because, seriously, even though I’m autistic I’d never believe it can take such a long time to recover. So I’d like to say here (like Sleep School advises in a couple of their lessons) I’m grateful for that experience.

How to say the right thing

First of all, I just realised that giving my post proper titles, instead of numbers or dates, is actually beneficial. I am about to add a link to one of them and I remember the post I’m after was titled ‘Wrong answer’, so it was quite easy to find, while if they only have numbers, I’d need to read a couple of them to find it. Funny thing, isn’t it, that what doesn’t seem natural to me actually turns out to be beneficial.

Last night I slept approximately 9 hours, I’m up already (I mean not up up, as I’m still in bed) for almost an hour (it’s 5.25am) because I collapsed to sleep before 7pm. Funny thing, the sleep app I’m using to improve my sleep, Sleep School, doesn’t address this problem at all – when you learn how to fall asleep, you’ll be drifting off just because you’re bored. And that goes against one of the principles of Sleep School – going to bed and waking up at the same time, if possible. However, the most important thing for me is that I managed to sleep.

This post is going to be about what to say to sound appropriate and caring. Or at least what I think we should say, and in one situation only, the situation I described in my post https://autisticandme.com/2021/12/01/wrong-answer-i-feel-absolutely-exhausted/

I’ll just copy and paste the relevant paragraph here. I do apologise but I guess we can all agree that my blog is not a sophisticated form of literature so it’s appropriate to do that.

So it goes like this: ‘So basically, at the end of the day one our trainer said that for people who want to work hard it’s very easy to earn money in that company. He mentioned a guy, who’s Polish, like me, who has trained to drive every single piece of equipment so he’s on the highest warehouse pay rate, but doesn’t want to progress to management or anything. However, he does loads of overtime, works every single day a week and as a result takes home three grands a month.’

If you want to see examples of not one but three inappropriate things to say to that, that my brain came up with on the spot, follow the above link. In here I am going to discuss what I think is an appropriate response, that shows off we are respectful of that worker circumstances even though we don’t advocate such a hard work.

Just a few patterns

Mind you, I actually came up with that on the same day, just a few hours later, but I was busy writing about different things. How funny it is though, that I still have something to write about even though I spent entire three days in bed. I really hope that I’ll be well enough to get out and get some teabags today as I only have two left. I was meant to drink camomile yesterday evening instead of tea, but as I already stated, I collapsed to sleep so I saved teabags without making any such sacrifices.

After writing ‘Wrong answer’ post I was so pleased with it that I emailed the link to The Boyfriend and he advised me to think what a neurotypical person would say in a similar situation. But the problem with this approach is, it is too general – neurotypical people can say an entire range of things and sometimes also say things that can be seen as inappropriate, although they do that for different reasons than us, like for example to manipulate the situation or to put someone down, while for us it’s just genuine inability to find the words that are pleasant enough.

So first of all we need to ask ourselves a question what we want to demonstrate with our response, and for me it was that I want to say something that shows that I can see the situation from another person perspective. And I don’t mean here, the trainer’s perspective, but the hardworking Polish guy’s perspective. So what is his perspective? He works so hard because he needs money for something, quite possibly for a deposit towards a house, but I’m sure this is not something he wants to do forever.

After this brief analysis I came up with, what I think woud be the right thing to say: ‘I hope when he earns enough for what he needs he’ll have better work-life balance’. I think this is good enough: it shows that I respect his situation (needing the money) while also care about the fact that he needs rest.

As I said I actually came up with this statement on the same day towards the evening, I was just wrapped up in other ideas (is that actually an expression? If it’s not, let me create it), and that’s why I am only posting about it now.

It’s only 6am now and I already wrote a post. I wonder what I will be doing for the rest of the day. I may give parsnip muffins another go. After parsnip worked so nicely in blinis yesterday it feels quite encouraging. And of course, I need to get more teabags, and some other stuff like lactose free milk and washing up liquid. OK, I’m off, I’m sure reading about my shopping list doesn’t really interest you. All the stuff that I buy are ordinary ones. No one so far came up with an ‘autistic washing up liquid’, if someone did, please let me know, I so much want to try it out.

Blinis 2

As always, I don’t know how to title my posts. Everything seems so out of place, but then, titling them by numbers would not be very practical now, when I used links to some of them in other posts.

It’s the third day of my exhaustion, at this moment it seems unbelievable that it’s all caused by sensory issues on Tuesday (it’s Friday now). Especially that during last two nights I had around 10 hours of sleep each. It seems like I should be recovered by now.

I’m still very hungry (again, god only knows why) so made another portion of blinis for lunch. I had an idea to add grated parsnip to batter, to reduce number of calories per portion (even though it probably has marginal effect) and I was ready to sacrifice on flavour, but guess what happened? Surprise, surprise, they turned out delicious, with mild nutty flavour and no parsnip aftertaste whatsoever. It’s so strange as parsnip didn’t really work in muffins, unless possibly it was too fresh, and now, when I have the open bag in my fridge for like two weeks, the parsnip flavour possibly is not there? I need to experiment further to work this mistery out.

I also have strange feeling that I should change something in how I approach life, although I’m not really sure what this should be. It’s only feeling, without any further understanding. Hopefully it will come with time.

I really like the quote

I’m in the same situation that I was at some point a few weeks ago: I almost run out of teabags and because I’m too tired to go out shopping I’ll be drinking camomile. At the moment I’m having hot chocolate but I need to be careful with that too as I’m also running low on milk and I need it for my morning coffee.

If it continues like this I’ll have to pass on having a date with The Boyfriend this weekend as he wouldn’t really let me have much rest. Well, obviously the purpose of a date is not to have rest but to be exiting to be around, which I’m currently very far from.

I put the blog on my CV yesterday and updated my profile on Indeed today. I decided, why would I hide the fact that I’m autistic and that I have a blog? It’s not a crime, is it? And hopefully me writing about issues autistic people have helps increase understanding. I then applied for a few care jobs but didn’t hear anything from any of them yet. It’s of course a bit early to take it as a sign of rejection, but I am really curious what employers reaction will be to having an autistic applicant.

Today is actually International day of people with disabilities, strangely enough I found out about that from Redecor as there’s no articles on BBC about it. In general BBC website doesn’t seem half as interesting as it was before covid so I now don’t know where to get my daily news from.

I’m still hungry. I really don’t know why.

Blinis

I keep having difficulties with coming up with titles for posts, I feel like I should give them numbers instead. I guess this maybe an autistic thing. Possibly I’ll change them later, I will see.

I’m still tired today, although not as bad as yesterday. I am also quite hungry for some reason so I made racuchy, Polish pancakes similar to blinis. I just had 3 of them, with sweetened apple sauce.

I’m surprised that sensory issues can have such a massive impact on my energy levels. I am telling you, when I was in the warehouse I thought I was copying. I mean, obviously I didn’t like noise and cold but I felt significantly better than towards the end of my hotel cleaning shift, when at some point I thought I’m going to pass out. That’s why I’m so suprised that I need so much time now to get my energy back.

I received response from Cambridge University regarding my complaint about Professor Baron-Cohen and his impaired communication skills. I was explained that although complaint can be looked into there is no other person who is better specialist on autism than him.

I started my response to that with ‘I am not really sure how we’re going to move on from this if Professor Baron-Cohen doesn’t have anyone who supervises his work.’ And only a little bit later I realised that I used an expression that neurotypical people use when they mean ‘I’m not going to let this go’ so basically I used hint, totally without thinking. Two years ago I’d say what I mean directly. I’m really surprised how easy that was.

After that I asked the person dealing with the complaint to ask Professor a riddle that was going to be part of today post. Now obviously I can’t post about it in case Professor has an idea to head to my blog to look for answers.

No no, that was a joke of course, I’m sure Professor knows the right answer already as he is seen as the best autism specialist in the UK.

Ok, that’s it for today I think. Nothing more to report on my autistic life for now. I’ll go and eat some more blinis. I don’t now why I’m so hungry today.

Wrong answer! (I feel absolutely exhausted)

I think it’s funny how tired I am today, even though I didn’t overexert myself yesterday. The training didn’t require using any physical force but I was exposed to cold and noise for quite a few hours – I thought yesterday I could cope with it, but now the exhaustion is a result. Even the use of therapy lamp doesn’t touch it.

I said yesterday I would write today about a particular statement the guy who run the training made on the first day and I’d better do it, even though I am so tired that need to make an effort to think properly, but the thing is, if I just post today that I’m really tired (as I try to report on everything that is autism related and this is how being in a sensory challenging environment is affecting me) so I’d write about it in another post, readers could end up expecting it’s something very excited and I don’t think it is, although it’s still interesting to see how quickly my autistic brain can come up with inappropriate things to say, and not just one of them, but the entire set.

So basically, at the end of the day one our trainer said that for people who want to work hard it’s very easy to earn money in that company. He mentioned a guy, who’s Polish, like me, who has trained to drive every single piece of equipment so he’s on the highest warehouse pay rate, but doesn’t want to progress to management or anything. However, he does loads of overtime, works every single day a week and as a result takes home three grands a month.

As I said yesterday, I do hope that is exaggeration, but when the trainer said that, I didn’t see it like that at all, I took it absolutely literally and what came to my mind first was ‘Yes, Polish people often work long hours’ and then I immediately thought I can’t say that because it increases prejudice towards us. Yes, some Polish people work very long hours because they need to earn money quickly, but that doesn’t usually happen for long. As soon as they have money for deposit towards the house they remember they need better work-life balance, the same like everyone else. So stating that Polish people work long hours would not really be true but make us look like slaves, especially that the rest of the people on training and trainer himself, not being Polish, would think that I know more about Polish people than them.

The second thing that came to my mind was ‘I’m pretty sure working every day a week is illegal’. I don’t want to say that to the representative of my prospective employer, do I? I hope that is clear.

Too tired for patterns

The third thing that came to my mind was ‘this money is not worth such a hard work’. That would show that I don’t respect another person’s circumstances, expecially another Polish – not good, is it? If that guy works that hard, possibly he really needs this money and I know nothing about his situation so it would be really rude to say that.

I managed to stop myself from saying every single one of that statements but it’s shocking how my brain can produce one inappropriate thing after the other, isn’t it? I wonder where this is coming from. Possibly from time when I was being prompted by people to ‘say something’ to show off confidence. Well, if anything, the above statements show off arrogance, not confidence. I wonder now, however, if I could be trained the same way to say something that would show off I can see another person perspective.

So far I haven’t been so I ended up just saying ‘oh’. Much better than stating anything of the above, and, does that imply I’m not confident? I don’t think so. I just had nothing to say, that’s two unrelated concepts!

Another funny situation was, when the trainer brought test books with him. He said they have two different test booklets and, raising one stated ‘this is test number two but today I’m going to give you test number three’. That’s strange, I thought, what about test number one? And anyway, if there was test number one, they’d have three different test booklets, not two, so that didn’t make any sense.

I was thinking about it for a bit and then, finally, decided to move on. I then came up with the idea that, possibly, that’s what I should be doing in any situation that doesn’t make sense to me, like sometimes when people are involved.

I don’t know if I mentioned here, but before I realised I’m autistic, I had this, very good coping strategy: if I don’t understand what someone means, I ignore them. It didn’t even come to my mind while speaking with such a person who I didn’t understand, that possibly he/she is deceitful or manipulative, I just ignored them. I’m now sure this way I saved myself a lot of drama.

Or looking for a different set up

Since realising I’m autistic I started getting involved in those little games, thinking that I either don’t get something due to my autism and need to give this person another chance or, possibly that there is something going on there and I may benefit from working it out. So far I didn’t.

The above is unfortunately experience of a lot of autistic females diagnosed as adults who either tried to work out other people hidden motives or learn how to make face expression suitable to the situation. I really would like someone to tell them this is not going to work or, possibly, can even put them in troubles.

What I did in the above situation, with two test booklets? Did I go after the trainer two hours later to ask him what he meant as, for a joke it was a bit too strange? No, I did not. I just moved on. Yes, I’m posting about it now as I think it illustrates a certain phenomenon but I wasn’t obsessively thinking about it.

Funny thing, it just came to me that possibly what happened was, the company used to have three test booklets and they later decided the first one was not up to standard so it has been removed but the second and third booklets numbers hasn’t been changed to avoid reprinting them and the trainer was just trying to be sarcastic about it?

It would be really silly if I followed him to ask what he had meant, wouldn’t you agree? If you don’t understand something, move on – that’s a good advice for an autistic person, I hope you can see that now.

I’m still exhausted, but at least I wrote a blog post, and ta da! it’s about communication!

I failed!

So, basically, I didn’t pass my LLOP (low level order picker) driving test. I am not sure how it happened – I miserably failed on reversing from the right, was unable to do it properly at all and it didn’t make any sense to me, while I coud do reversing from the left at the first attempt almost without thinking.

I really don’t know how such a massive discrepancy is at all possible, but maybe it’s due to dyspraxia? We did the reversing from the left first and I did it almost automatically and then when I had had to do it from the right, I couldn’t do it automatically again as my brain had an idea to just repeat the same moves that I did while reversing from the left, and that’s why I was standing there and thinking that it doesn’t make any sense?

While I was taking driving lessons, while living in Reading, I was apparently very good at manoeuvres, but I’m wondering now whether the instructor meant I’m much better at manoeuvres than an average person or whether I’m much better at manoeuvres than at driving on the road (that btw wasn’t coming easily to me at all). I don’t remember having similar issues then, however the instructor was obviously focused on teaching me and paying attention to what I had difficulties with, while today the trainer was focused on finding people who could drive the truck without difficulties.

That means, I’m without a job again. I’m not sure how I feel about that as I wasn’t particularly looking forward to it. Regarding the sensory issues it was probably not as bad as I expected, I coped with both cold and noise better than I thought, even though I only had around 3h of sleep last night. However, I feel quite competitive. If I had some spare money I’d go for external LLOP training only to prove myself that I can work out how to reverse from the right.

There was a young guy on training, I think he said he’s 20, it kept being discussed that straight after passing LLOP training he’d be trained on a different driving equipment, even though at a different time we were told that the company standard is that all the new starters are only trained on LLOP and only more experienced employees go on to be trained on something else. So I asked him how he convinced the company that he can do both and was sure to hear he driven LLOP, and possibly another thing before, but he just said ‘they just offered it to me’. Strange, I thought.

What a face

Today, as we were doing our training, he had a bit of difficulty for like 5 minutes and then became absolutely natural at it. So I asked him directly if he driven LLOP before and he said, no, never. He also claimed he never drove anything else in life, didn’t even have one driving lesson. Strange, I thought again.

And then, as we were called for the test he was asked to go first ‘as you are more experienced’ the trainer said. Great, I thought. Why people lie this way? To get attention, I suppose. Possibly I should try that sometimes, but then I can never predict if similar behaviour is going to backfire.

There was also this situation yesterday, that I didn’t want to mention as I make an effort not to shine negative light on my employers, even prospective or ex ones (even when I mention Home Group – I only speak the truth about them), however, I now think the situation must have been a joke or an exaggeration. It was about communication and the fact that my mind can so easily come up with all the wrong things to say, however, I’ll leave it for another day to write about it as today I’m rather tired and still a bit freezed up.

Otherwise my day was good, thank you. Just had my 5th beetroot muffin, I didn’t have one yesterday so that’s 6 days after I baked it and it was still soft and moist. No gluten and loads of chia seeds are going to be my secret from now on.

Tomorrow I need to apply for a job in Royal Mail. Normally I don’t like giving my employers names but how else I can explain that I’m sorting letters?

I want my DBS.

I feel like going on strike

Well, I was in a good mood for a few days already so now it’s time to be low. Btw I do not think that means I’m bipolar (which is my second diagnosis): I didn’t overspend, I didn’t get drunk, I didn’t even overeat (ta da!), I also didn’t make any strange plans regarding my future and I believe my insight was good. I think I really was just in a really good mood, possibly elevated slightly due to the use of therapy lamp.

Why I’m feeling bad now, then? Because I keep getting this idea that I’m not meant to have only one job: whatever I choose to do I’ll be running into trouble. It will either be too much contact with people and too much politics (like in a care home), sensory issues (in a warehouse), too boring (cleaning) or not enough time for myself (live in care). I do realise that other people don’t have some of those challenges and also cope better with those that they do have. Perhaps they don’t loose sleep (like me know) over the fact that they can’t find an ideal job and just get on with what they have, as long as it’s good enough.

One of my problems is that, when I have been somewhere for a bit of time, I start focusing on negatives and find it very difficult to move on from that type of thinking. Over the years I learned that making decisions based on this is not good to me and it’s much better to be logical and stay in a job because it is, in general, ok. However, what is really happening is, the fact that I force myself to be logical doesn’t mean the negative thinking will go away – no, it will stay with me and slowly eats me away, until one day I get sacked (oh, ok, that only happened once).

I don’t know what to do about that. It seemed I was getting ok with the fact that I need to have at least two jobs, that I can alternate, but now it seems to me like it’s a sign of failure, something that no one would understand, let alone support.

Gig economy is supposed to be bad for us, that’s what we are told, isn’t it? And yet, now, I need to put myself in a situation where I purposefully reject the idea of having permanent job, with all it’s benefits, to protect my mental health. Other people don’t need to do that and yet their mental health is good.

I really do not think that’s fair.

I’m all freezed up!

So, basically, it turned out my training for the food warehouse job is full time, even though the job is part time. The agency staff didn’t inform me of that, but also, I didn’t ask. It obviously makes sense that part time staff gets the same training that full time staff, but I just didn’t know the training will be that long. I mean, I don’t have a big problem with that – it’s paid and I have no other commitments, plus, it’s good that they’re so throughout about training, not like in the last warehouse job I had, where I was told to move pallets ‘over there’ using manual pallet truck, even though I never used one before. It was really funny when I tried to operate it and it just wasn’t behaving at all how I expected and there was no one next to me to ask what to do.

So yes, I’m not complaining about the extensive training, I am just saying I’m a little bit surprised.

Other than that I am curious how I’m going to cope – tomorrow I’ll be learning how to drive electric pallet truck called LLOP (who knows what that stands for, training didn’t cover it so far). If I pass I’ll become qualified Christmas Reindeer and will be rushing around so that people in the area could get their Christmas food on time. It is partly exciting, I must admit, but I wonder how I’m going to manage with working in such a large space (I don’t like large spaces), exposed to sudden noises and without heating. I wonder if the limited contact with people and lack of exposure to workplace politics is going to make up for all the other factors I am not so keen on. It will be interesting to see actually, so keep your fingers crossed for my LLOP training tomorrow.

After finishing the training today I waited 50 minutes on the bus stop as two buses didn’t turn up and that’s why I’m all freezed up, even now, two hours after getting home (of course the central heating is on and I also have an old type of gas heater in my living room that I have on at the moment). I sometimes wish to be like The Boyfriend who copes with cold really well, but it’s oversensitive to heat, so when it’s summer I’m glad I am myself. Oh well.

My latest achievement – pattern display

Tomorrow I need to get there by 7am, which means I need to be up around 5am and I still won’t have enough time to use my therapy lamp fot the same length of time I normally do, I hope that won’t affect my excitement levels (oh, actually, I’m too freezed up now to feel excited but I had very good mood during the training).

Nothing new to report regarding communication, although there was this moment when I found out that ‘high visibility vest needs to be fastened’ is called 360 rule – that’s really fun, exactly something that I could come up with and that wouldn’t be understood by my colleagues in care.

Goodnight. I need to get up and switch that gas heater as I’m suddenly getting hot. I may sleep on the sofa again today though.

Good mood continues

As yesterday, I had this idea to make a post to record that I’m in a good mood. If I only post when I feel miserable, people could come to a conclusion that I always feel miserable and it’s to do with me being autistic. It’s really not like that at all, although, I guess, I may get into a bad mood for different reasons that neurotypical people would (like being in noisy environment or, even worse – socialising for too long, who would have thought?).

As yesterday, I have absolutely no idea why I’m in a good mood. Possibly it’s the side effect of SAD lamp? In that case I’d recommend it to everyone, because I really do feel like I won a lottery, even though my bank statement shows less that I would expect to have this time a month ago (where’s my DBS???). It will be really interesting to see if this mood will stay with me for longer, fingers crossed.

I was thinking recently about my ‘work personalities’ and I summed up myself as having 3 of them: researcher, practical/focused on processes and an activist. When I worked in care neither of those personalities could really shine. I used the practical one to deliver the service and, as I already mentioned here, that was not always appreciated (a resident’s bath chair looks like it’s getting broken? Magda is looking for problems again, instead of focusing on people, that’s what it is).

Focusing on patterns

When I said researcher, I mean I am someone constantly looking for patterns. I used that ability to do complex maths and to study IT, which was a great fun, yet I never had an opportunity to actually use that in my career, which is a bit sad. I really do think autistic people need more career advice and not something that is overly simplified because we oversimplify things ourselves already, so we don’t need neurotypicals to do that for us, seriously. I have a blog about autism but I don’t think I’d like to be autism researcher. Firstly, I wouldn’t then be able to be an autism activist, as that would be conflict of interest; secondly, I’d need to then work with other researchers, possibly neurotypical, who could try to research me during our lunch breaks and that wouldn’t be fun. As much as I want autism research to progress, being seen as full time research object is not what I want from life.

I’d like to be researcher in medicine, possibly working on creating new drugs. That would however require going back to university, without and guarantees that I’d get where I want to be at the end. Maybe I’d just end up in a local pharmacy instead? It’s also possible that, even if I got a job in research, I’d have to be against politics, that would have nothing to do with patients best interests and everything to do with company profit. Never working in that area and having limited social imagination puts me in a situation where I am unable to weight pros and cons of this route, therefore I’d rather not take it. I do hope that people who read this won’t think that I’m lazy and lacking ambition, I’m just trying to be practical in situation where my access to information is very limited.

So that brings me to my third work personality: an activist. I suppose having a blog makes me an activist already and complaining about Professor Baron-Cohen even more so. As much as I feel that sacking me from my job in care was a step too far, I am grateful to my life circumstances for that as I really used it as an opportunity. I mean, I don’t have many readers for now, but things may change with time, and I know that I have to keep blogging to get there. Possibly one day my views on the state of autistic research and support available for us will matter. I’d never start a blog when I was employed. One problem was, I was constantly fed up so there would be nothing to write about, the other thing was, my work colleagues didn’t know me as a blogger and I was afraid to upset the status quo. Although I didn’t disclose to my prospective employers that I have a blog or that I’m autistic, the blog is available online and possible to find and I am who I am.

Thinking about all the above, it took me years of trial and error to understand my strengths and weaknesses. I probably still don’t fully get them now, and this is, unfortunately, part of being autistic. While in secondary school I was constantly being told how smart I was and no one ever realised that there are things I am unable to do. That’s why there really needs to be more support and quality research – something that doesn’t include ‘autistic mice’ but focuses on autistic people instead.

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