Life as a cleaner

Tomorrow is my last day of the cleaning job in a popular clothing shop. My DBS is still not back and I don’t know what I will be doing till I get it. Mind you, I didn’t know I’ll be bored with this job that quickly – it’s only been two weeks and I am already feeling meh. I really feel like I need some meaningful contact with people and having the impression that I have impact on somebody life. When I just started work in care, everything was new and interesting and I wasn’t planning how to get out of it. There is so many job advices for autistics where being a cleaner is considered a good fit for us that I’m really shocked I can’t wait till this job is over. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I tried it, and at least I know how I feel about it, but it really is too repetitive for my liking.

Cleaners sometimes face difficult choices at work. Never heard about a cleaner who damaged art exhibition as she thought it was rubbish? There’s been more than one instance of this type of overzealousness (is that actually a word? Correct me if I’m wrong, as you may know English is not my first language) and when I was at my first university, studying physics in Łódź, we had an academic teacher well into his 60s, who only had a master degree. I don’t know how it works in other parts of the world but in Poland staff with master degree are only allowed to do support tasks with students while they work on their PhD; they can’t deliver lectures or be responsible for exams and this particular teacher was doing it all while, due to his age, it was obvious he had more than enough time to do doctorate. It was very confusing to me, until someone said, and who knows, it could well be true, that his PhD work required to grow some crystals and one day cleaner throw them to the bin!

Poor cleaner, I hope she didn’t get fired for that. Anyway, after that happened, the man told his supervisor he’s not doing it all over again, period, and was allowed to stay and enjoy all PhD privilages. It looks like he wasn’t thinking in terms of infinite games, which is quite sad.

Mind you, he was one of the teachers who made me to study extra hard because I didn’t get all the questions right on the exam, and then, when I finally answered everything he asked me perfectly, he only gave me a C. I was thinking at the time that was because I was the only female in the entire physics group, but now I think, even though that must have play a part (‘you only came here to find a husband’ said in front of everyone else was an acceptable comment at the time, I really do hope things have changed since then) I think my autism was probably also at play. One teacher actually told me she lowered my grade because ‘I look like if I didn’t know what was going on’. But that is how I look when I’m focused on something! Obviously at the time I didn’t know this is due to autism and that I’m autistic. I didn’t know anything about it at all, although the first time I’ve heard about Asperger’s syndrome was when I was in a primary school.

It is said that girls don’t get picked up early enough but the first person who I knew was diagnosed with it was a girl from my primary school, a few years younger than me, very bright, she was getting the best grades in her year, but yes, she looked like if she didn’t know what’s happening around her, never spoke to anybody during break times and she used to rock regularly. I didn’t know anything about Asperger’s at the time and to be honest neither me, nor my friends were that interested, it was enough for us to know that this sensation had a name: genius who looked like if she was severely impaired. I really do hope she’s doing ok now, got a good job, where she can use all her strenghts and is not forced to rely on her weaknesses to get by.

Only 4 patterns on this image

I also know she was diagnosed in Warsaw, our capital city, just over 100km from our village and it was possibly 7 years after my mum was told by local child psychologist I’d grow out of ‘it’. Mind you, I didn’t present as severely as that girl, probably because, although quite intelligent, I was not as bright as her, and also I spoke to other kids at school (I never was a popular kid though) so my mum never felt the need to pursue any further diagnosis. Mind you (using the same expression in two sentences in a row!) mum would never get a diagnosis for me, I was just too normal for that time. And actually, when I was in my early 20s I probably appeared like if I in fact grown out of it. I was parting, was confident and knew a lot of people. I just didn’t know how to make friends with them. They all seemed like acquaintances and nothing more. Sometimes I thought a person is my friend and then they always chose somebody else to spend time with, whenever they had a choice. I was only good for times when they had nothing better to do.

Although I used to have A Friend (don’t confuse with The Friend) who however stopped treating me well quite quickly… oh, that is a long story. I’m not sure if I should be putting it in here. Maybe one day, when I decide what details should be left out, partly to protect her identity (strange thing I still care of her enough to think about that), partly to appear at least slightly mysterious to my readers (ok, I only just came up with that reason now as giving one reason only to do something just didn’t feel like enough).

Yes, so, I wonder whether I’ll have enough things to blog about when I discuss everything from my past. This blog is about life as an autistic person so everything goes, even my parsnip muffins (mind you, I already ate all of them, which is a shame as I feel a bit peckish). Parsnip muffins are part of my life and, because I’m autistic, it’s an autistic life so parsnip muffins are part of my autistic life. Makes sense, I hope. Plus, one could think that being autistic I only eat food that I know well and that is not true! One day I need to tell you how I went to Malaysia and on my first night ordered Thai green curry because I liked the taste of Thai green curry sauce that I bought in Sainsbury’s once or twice. Mind you (again!) no one explained to me that they eat incredibly hot food in that part of the world and the Sainsbury’s sauce was our, European version of it. At other times I ordered ‘sweet and spicy chicken claws’ because I didn’t know what claws mean… well, on both occasions I ate the whole of my dinner. What helped was telling myself that I’m travelling so should be opened to all the new experiences. You see, I’m autistic, but I can do it when it makes sense to me.

It was also in Malaysia where I got my tattoo. This one that was meant to cover my self-harming scars, but the tattoo artist didn’t do very good job with it and they are still visible on the sides.

Anyway, I was speaking about food earlier on. What should I have for dinner? Russian pierogi or, possibly, baked beans with toasted potato waffles? It’s strange that I can’t eat chips but love potato waffles, isn’t it?

To say or not to say (that is the question)

So, I had a couple of situations at work today that I didn’t know how to handle. I guess that’s quite a lot, considering I’m just a cleaner, working on my own and only 3 hours per day, but yet, they happened.

The first situation was just after I mopped kitchen and a little dining area at the back of the shop and then moved on to hoover meeting room. A lady who, I suspect, may be a manager, but I didn’t have a chance to get that confirmed (should I just ask her? Would that not be rude?) approached me and said it would be nice if I stayed with them for longer. Well, I thought, what do I say? I do admit some areas at the back of the shop were not very clean when I came there the first time, and even on the shop floor there was a bit too much dust in corners, but what do I say?

‘I can’t stay because I’m about to start a different job as soon as my DBS comes back but maybe you should just tell your regular cleaner off?’ No, that doesn’t seem right. Thank god, I didn’t say that.

Suddenly I had a breakthrough idea: to mirror the information that I am being given.

The lady I spoke with only said it would be nice if I stayed, didn’t comment on previous cleaner work at all, didn’t even comment on my work. So the right response would be to explain I’m about to start a job in care and that’s what I did. What I realised later, I wouldn’t know how to use this approach if I in fact wanted to stay. It seems like a different strategy should be used in that situation. Or, possibly, it would be ok to say ‘Oh, thank you, that would be nice indeed. I really like being here’ and then see how the situation is progressing.

The second situation was, when a different staff member, a young girl (girl for me is any female under 26), complained about having dry lips. ‘Did you try vaseline?’ I was about to say when I realised that she probably knows about that trick. Would I sound bossy and boring if I said that? I really don’t know, but that’s what people seem to think about me when I offer them a piece of information (I can read face expressions up to a point, I just never know what to do with what I found out). ‘It’s probably the cold weather’ I finally said. Hard to say if it sounded any better, but maybe it did as I wasn’t telling her to do anything. And, after I said that, I continued cleaning. This is what I like the most about cleaning job: it’s so easy to make myself busy and avoid long conversations.

Some Redecor patterns. They look very clean to me.

And, to be perfectly honest, it’s not that I don’t like talking to people, it’s more that they seem not to like talking to me so I try to spare them this effort. You see, I already stated multiple times here: I think about other people the entire time!

The third situation was, when a lady, a bit older than me, told me she had a bad cold and she feels worse now, on the forth day, than when it started. The first thing that came to my mind was to tell her this may be COVID and then laugh. But then, I realised, that would not be appropriate towards somebody I don’t know well. But then, how do I know if I know someone well enough for this kind of joke? Only after realising I’m autistic I found out that some jokes are appropriate in some situations and not in others, but I still don’t really know how to tell one from the other.

Before my self diagnosis my default mode was to just say it and only later I’d be like how come other people are not laughing and why I get things wrong so often? Now I’m more like ‘don’t say anything that you think may be funny, don’t say it just in case’ but then, I’ll be like, am I not becoming the most boring person ever? Boring cleaner, what can be worse than that?

Anyway, I had another of my chocolate and zucchini muffins today and it tasted and even looked much better than yesterday, so I will consider making them again. I also have plenty of energy, which must be due to the SAD lamp. Straight after work I went to town, not because I was desperate to get anything, but because I decided I didn’t want to sit at home on my own. After coming back home I started cleaning and tyding and washed my bedding and towels. I actually had to force myself to sit down, which is what I’m doing now, drinking tea while burning some essential oils in my oil burner.

Having this tiny bit of rest, I keep thinking, what I’ll be doing before I go to sleep. Normally I’d be on my mobile, but it feels I have too much energy for that. Fingers crossed my flat will become clean, tidy and well organised from now on. I trully recommend the lamp to anyone.

Oh, BTW, I spoke with my brother and he said he’s planning to pay electricity bill but didn’t know what to do with the meter reader to report on his usage, but he got this sorted already. This is what kind of overprotective neighbours we have, although I take it, my brother was probably panicking while speaking with them.

I also had a phone call from my mum’s care home. She’s apparently not very well, very weak, however her parameters are not bad and she says she’s not in any pain. It’s really sad I can’t even go and visit. Hard to say how much life she has left. At least good that I moved her to a nicer place, I would really regret now if I haven’t done that.

I’m not good at making friends (and a little warehouse adventure)

It is said that autistic people are not good at making and keeping friends and this definitely applies to me too. I currently have two friends: The Friend who is Polish but I met her in the UK over 10 years ago, but who came back to Poland in the meantime, and another lady, also Polish, who I met in my last permanent job. This lady is 70 and just decided she’s going back to Poland to retire for good. Both of those are good, honest, supportive people, but I also have a history of being friends with ladies who were not always nice. The problem with those is though, that they appear nice enough for long periods of time and although I can sense something is not right, it’s not bad enough to end the friendship.

It can be something like for example paying a lot of attention to my problems and asking loads of questions around those while never spending any time to enjoy my successes or possibly never having time to meet up even though one doesn’t work, doesn’t study and doesn’t have a family. It does make me think why people are like that and whether they don’t understand this is ruining their chances to build positive relationships, and what is the reason that they don’t understand as they’re certainly not autistic.

The problem with the above mentioned ex friends is, that although their behaviour makes me uncomfortable, it’s not severe enough for me to end the friendship at this stage. It always seems to me that either there’s an explanation for those behaviour that I just didn’t discover yet, or that possibly it’s me who’s misinterpreting. The friendship then drags for a couple of years up until the point when that person finally does something that makes me open my eyes. With one of them it happened shortly after my second psychotic episode – basically she started being very patronising towards me after that. Another started making passive aggressive comments to me on Facebook. Because those friendships weren’t what I really wanted in a friend it was very easy to finish them as soon as I gained the clarity I needed.

There are also those situations, unfortunately, that I’d like to be friends with someone, as they’re fun and very approachable but they seem not to have any more space in their social schedule for me, and that really hurts.

Sad

And, on top of the above, I have those situations every now and then that someone who I consider a good friend decides to move. It’s easier for me to make friends with other Polish people and it seems like they move more often than others, or at least more often than British. Considering they already moved from Poland, moving within the UK doesn’t seem that difficult. Or sometimes they just decide to go back.

I met that lady in town today, after leaving the warehouse shift. Basically, I was told by the agency that there’s not enough work in the warehouse where I was for two days and was asked to go to another warehouse of the same company but it turned out everything looked different there: there was loads of noise and no clothes to pack and I was told to move pallets using pallet truck. Just like that. I never touched a pallet truck before in my entire life and the job was meant to be ‘light warehouse work, packing clothes and jewellery’. Or at least that’s what I was told last week.

I found the pallet truck really difficult to manoeuvre (I wonder whether that’s something to do with the fact that I’m probably dyspraxic) but the team leader was telling me to just do it, even though he saw I was struggling. The whole situation was getting really ridiculous and I thought, a few more moves and I’m going to do some damage there or possibly even hurt myself or somebody else. It’s so strange to me that neurotypical people can’t seem to see that something may go wrong as a result of their actions (unless it is a social situation) so finally I said, sorry, but I’m not doing this.

I left and called this friend of mine who’s 70, and that’s when she told me she’s going back to Poland for good. We met in town and did some window shopping and then separated. It will be sad without her. I’ll have no local friend at all.

Blogging is difficult (at times)

What I realised just a few hours ago, again, after Ashley’s comments on my previous post is, that people may have an opinion on my behaviour and this opinion may differ from my own.

I can see, in a way, that blogging about my life is starting to give me the same issues that socialising did: it seems like I’m enjoying it and doing ok and then suddenly, out of nowhere, I get snappy towards people and can’t even see that.

Possiby I should have deleted my last post but then that would not be fair towards people who expect to find real representation of autistic female characteristic here. Autism is a disability and this is how it shows up sometimes.

Trick or treat?

It’s interesting to see that blogging by itself did it this time, while my contact with people is extremely limited. It may suggest that the source of similar reaction is not necessarily contact with people as such but the constant planning what to say and attempts to predict how this is going to be perceived. I do that ok for so many days and then, suddenly, I can’t continue and I start saying whatever comes to my mind. Plus, by the time I get fed up with people so what comes to my mind may not be very attractive for the listener (or a reader, in case of a blog).

I now have a real dilemma: should I take a break and come back when I’m OK to craft elaborate, full of emotions posts, or just continue for the sake of giving the readers the opportunity to fully familiarise themselves with how my thinking process goes.

It’s a difficult one, isn’t it?

A little update on Home Group drama

I believe it was a week ago when I requested Mr Henderson, the CEO of Home Group to apologise to me. So far he didn’t. I find it difficult to assess if I really believed he would – as an autistic person I find it difficult to predict other people behaviour, although at times I get it right. I guess, it could actually be easier if I always get it wrong as I’d not attempt to influence people in any way. This is exactly where many of my problems come from: trying to influence people.

What may also sometimes happen is that the person I attempt to influence do what I expected them to do but gets angry with me and I have no idea why. My understanding of social situations is that if someone would get angry because of doing something that I asked them to do, they would simply refuse to do it and I have no idea why people are more complicated than that. Therefore when that happens I end up feeling manipulated, even though I got what I wanted.

So yes, I am not sure I really believed that Mr Henderson would apologise but I was certainly hoping for it. I’m also not sure how I would feel about such forced apologies but I guess that depends on what words he would use.

Hope. That’s what I need.

I guess, if he offered to publish my story on the company website with a sensitive comment, I’d really believe then that he’s not just trying to shut me up and I’d feel my suffering has been acknowledged, so that would certainly make me feel so much better. He would still have to explain why he didn’t apologise since 2017 and that could prove to be difficult but I guess not impossible. As a neurotypical person he should have much better social imagination than me so possibly he would come up with something suitable, he could also ask other people in his team, so pretty much everyone working there, for some ideas. Or, possibly he could even as an autism specialist how to talk to me.

Yesterday, when I got very upset about it, I emailed professor Simon Baron-Cohen and asked him to negotiate between me and Mr Henderson and he bluntly refused. I’m not sure why, this is a total mystery to me. I’m an autistic person going through some unusual life events relating to my condition (autistics are much more likely to be bullied) so it seems to me like not only he should be willing to help but he should also want to find out more about my situation for research purposes. Quite frankly it appears he’s not interested in either.

My request for apology made me realise however, I should also apologise to somebody in relation to Home Group drama, but I won’t reveal here who that person is. I do behave strange at times, as we all know, I’m autistic so that is some kind of explanation but it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be expected to learn from my mistakes.

Ability to miss small details

It is said that autistic people focus more on details than on overall picture. I guess for me that’s true when I try to complete task and come accross a challenge, I then focus on the effor needed to overcome the challenge more than on the gratification I can get from completing the task and often end up feeling very stressed. It feels, in a way, like it’s not worth it, even if I know I’ll benefit a lot from completing that task.

However, in other situations it seems like the small details are not that important as the overall picture. When I had my housekeeping shift two days ago, I was finding it very difficult to remember about arranging toiletries nicely in the bathroom: after cleaning all the room it just didn’t seem that important how they are arranged, even though it probably is important for the first impression. I also kept forgetting if I filled up the tea and coffe making corner: is there enough teabags, sugar, milk. I had to check everything a few times as I just kept forgetting.

I’d be much happier if I could just remove bedding, towels, rubbish and clean any big mess and then leave the rest for someone else to make the room look nice. That could possibly make other housekeepers job easier, however, that’s not how hotels work and it’s sad I don’t even have anyone to ask if they would like to try this arrangement.

I’m still waiting for my criminal record checks for my care jobs and I somehow worry if I manage in this line of work. What I realised when working in the hotel was, that I didn’t feel different there: my contact with people was so limited that when I had to talk to someone I felt completely at ease with that. This is definitely something that I would like to continue to experience in my workplace, while in care I often felt out of place and like I had to make extra effort to cope socially, although live in care was much easier in that respect.

I like the symmetry of this room

I’m preparing parcel for my mum, with all the clothes she left here and some that I bought for her. Yes, I know, I was meant to do that a few weeks earlier but couldn’t get through all the information about sending parcels after brexit while I was also looking for work. It turned out I had to fill in CN22 form for the customs clearance and the area that I have for describing what the parcel contains is really small, just a bit bigger than a credit card, while at the same time I have to give detailed description: not just ‘clothes’ but ‘primark women top, brown women tracksuit bottom’. I don’t know how I’m going to fit description of all the items! There are like 20 of them. Possibly I’ll just count all the tops and all the trousers and describe them as ‘women trousers’ and ‘women tops’ but you know what designing the form this way means to me? Sending parcels with numbers of small items which are all different is not permitted.

Otherwise I’m doing fine, I suppose. It’s finally getting a bit chilly but surprisingly I am managing without putting heating on. I’m normally oversensitive to cold so it is a bit surprising but I really am quite ok.

I contacted the council a few days ago regarding my ‘care needs assessment’. I really would like someone who would remind me to read all the letters I keep receiving, tidy up and pay my service charges on time (service charges are only payable every three months so I can’t set up direct debit for them – in my head it doesn’t make sense and I almost always pay them late, sometimes a few weeks late). A lady called me today regarding that and she was slighty too polite. I found that patronising. She asked me how I’m doing now. ‘The same’ – I replied. I was not sure what else she was expecting.

Overall I feel loads of my executive functioning issues (that means being late with bills, not asking for refund for things or services not working properly, not tidying up) is, because I live too much in my head. I’m very preocupied with my thoughts and ideas and don’t want to be bothered by external reality.

Not many patterns for a change

But then I usually clean before The Boyfriend comes over. The Friend says that’s not feminist at all, but then you know what I think? At least I have motivation to do that and it then stays fairly clean for the next couple of days. My mum was actually laughing at me, when she was here, that I need two boyfriends, visiting every three days, my flat would always be clean then. Two boyfriends would be difficult to manage but possibly I could clean before the support worker comes over.

I also finally called mum’s care home. I didn’t want to call them earlier, I can’t really explain why. All the nurses feel like cerberus to me, even though they are actually nice. Possibly it’s because I didn’t learn how to play the role of a daughter in front of them. It feels like I’d be judged for being myself.

I got my mum’s mobile fixed when I was in Poland so I was trying to call her this way but I think she only answered twice. And to be honest, she wouldn’t be able to tell me if her health deteriorated. So after like 3 weeks of me not contactibg them it felt like:

1. If mum got unwell they’d call me to tell me that

2. They must think I’m a bad daughter who thinks that if she pays for mum’s care she doesn’t need to be involved in any way.

Obviously the 2. is not true. I just find it very difficult to appear caring and interested in front of someone who I don’t know and I worry I may again say something that would be misinterpreted.

So yes, they called to say mum’s got Covid, but she’s recovering. She’s in isolation. It’s not sure who she got it from as everyone else, including staff, is negative. That’s a bit strange, but then I can’t go there and investigate so I’ll just need to hope for the best.

And actually the lady I spoke with was nice and explained to me I need to be in touch. Well, I kind of knew that of course, yet my own fears took over.

You learn something new everyday

I really like this saying, it’s so positive. What I learned today was:

– Hotel double duvet is not square (as you can imagine that has a massive impact on time needed for making the bed!

– The only way to get rid of hair from the bathroom is by hoovering.

– Used linen sack fills up extremely quickly and it’s very heavy to carry when full.

What I would like to pass onto others for times when they’re hotel guests is as follows:

– After the room service there is no need to hide dirty plates under the table.

– Try not to stick used chewing gum onto the furniture.

Overall I suppose it was not too bad. I was doing perfectly fine till lunch time, enjoying working on my own, in peace and quiet, happy that I’m keeping myself fit by making beds and carrying the above mentioned sack. After lunch I was getting a bit tired but thought I have no choice but to continue. Around 2.30 I seriously thought I’m going to tell them I have a back pain and need to leave but I felt a bit silly so I continued. Around 3 I thought I’m going to pass out or, alternatively have a panic attack. Neither of those happened so I just continued. The last two hours I actually felt like a robot, but I guess the fact that I managed is the most important thing.

Also, I didn’t feel autistic in the slightest. I mean, I am autistic 24/7 so just when I feel ok I still ‘feel autistic’, I just didn’t think much about it. What I should have probably said instead is that I didn’t feel ‘peopled out’ and as a result I didn’t feel the need to ignore people, those who met me for those brief interactions today would never thought I have autism spectrum dissorder and, quite frankly this is how I like to present myself. It’s a sign for me that I’m coping, while working in a busy care home where I had to take my colleagues social needs into consideration the entire shift was making me really exhausted.

That’s not how hotel rooms where I worked today looked like, but actually why they’re not designed like that?

Now, even though my legs hurt and I have the feeling I’m going to have back muscle sores tomorrow (how will I survive another shift with them?) I actually feel ok otherwise.

Possibly the job in care, or at least in a busy care home is not really for me.

My psychiatric nurse actually referred me for a service that is meant to find me the ‘ideal’ job – they work with people with mental health problems and autism. It’s good that that service exists because when I enquired after being diagnosed I was told that if I already have a job, there’s no support I can get, even if the job is not suitable for me and is making me unwell. That’s not very good, is it?

If the support was available at the time I’d probably have left Home Group and went to work in a hotel. However, the fact that the job in that place wasn’t a perfect fit for me doesn’t mean it was OK for my colleagues to put fabricated documents in my file and then use those to get managers from other divisions to refuse me support when I was asking for it.

Long story short Mr Henderson didn’t apologise to me yet.

My social needs (plus a little digression about Home Group)

Believe me or not, the fact that I’m autistic doesn’t mean I have no social needs. I still want to be loved, appreciated, taken care of and have friends. My social needs may be lower than other people but I still have them. What is surprising though, is the fact that even though my social needs are lower than other people, I still have trouble meeting them.

I spent the weekend by myself again as on Saturday morning I got the text message regarding my coronavirus test from last week: there were some issues with how the tests were being handled and some people received false negative results. So I asked The Boyfriend if he wants to come and he said no. I mean, fair enough, better to be on the safe side especially as he has asthma but I don’t even remember the last time I saw him. Probably beginning of August, since that time I spent most of the time on my own. I even started missing my last job, I’d happily go there again, even if that meant dealing with all the politics that I used to hate so much.

I received the text about issues with covid tests as I was just queuing to the checkout in Polish shop, some of the food was meant for me and The Boyfriend date, yet, I did not panic at all, instantly deciding I’ll eat it during the next two days or so, that’s not a problem. So I could again confirm with myself that in fact I am quite flexible for an autistic person.

However, the next day, on Sunday, I had a situation where, once again, I had to admit to myself that I focus on obstacles a lot instead of on where I want to be. I had to repressurise my boiler and, honestly, it needed to be done a year ago. Well… it’s this type that needs a key to do that and for some reason the previous owners didn’t leave it for me.

More patterns. Patterns always calm me down.

So, last year, after I noticed that the pressure fell to zero I ordered the key online. When it arrived I watched a video of how to use it and panic completely. So I’d need to get on my knees to see what I’m doing as the mechanism I needed to use was at the very bottom of the boiler. And one of the bits needed to be turned ‘anticlockwise’. And what does anticlockwise actually mean if the part is placed horizontally?

I’m not doing it, I quickly decided. I found out online that boilers are not going to get broken if being used while pressure is low, they’re just ‘less efficient’. I wasn’t sure what that actually mean but I quickly decided I’d rather pay more for gas than deal with the issue.

This year, however, when I tried to use heating (and thank God, it’s still fairly warm outside) the radiators were barely warm on the same settings I always use. So I dug the key out of the kitchen cupboard and watched the video again.

It was all a bit stressful but I managed to do it on the second attempt. Together with watching the video it didn’t take me more than 10 minutes, and yet, I was still stressed an hour later, wondering why reputable boiler company came up with something like that instead of making it easy for the user.

I actually got stressed again now, while writing about it. That’s because I’m more focused on obstacles than on where I want to be.

But then, I’m thinking, I’m not always like that. Let’s take Home Group example: first I stayed in a job where I was being bullied, then I took them to tribunal and finally now, I write about them, and email The CEO, Mr Henderson, every time I mention Home Group on my blog. The Boyfriend was really worried they’ll take me to court for slander so I stopped discussing the issue with him (I hope he doesn’t read my blog) but I didn’t stop doing what I’m doing.

For some reason this image seems to really fit in here. I’m not quite sure why.

And I’m doing what I’m doing because I don’t want the same thing to happen to other people again. I’m not even quite sure how I’m going to achieve that but I keep putting myself through this stress: I’m really frightened of Home Group response. I’m frightened that one day they may in fact send me a letter and I’ll never open it. I keep remember how, at some point, every time I’ve got an email from the tribunal I had a panic attack (and actually why, it should be them who ought to be scared).

But I keep on keeping on. The obstacles don’t put me off at all. So sometimes I’m focused on obstacles more than on where I want to be but not every time. I’m not quite getting it.

So what is it that I want to achieve? I guess authorities to notice that the current approach to support for autistics is not really working. Telling us that harassment cannot be tolerated and that we should be making lists of every events that happened is not going to help us.

Who would believe that The Lady used to mention ‘slimy fish’ out of nowhere while looking straight into my eyes? But only when no one was around of course. With other people she was the perfect example of a professional. People like that can’t be fought with procedures, it’s never going to work.

I don’t have to self isolate!

So, I got that text message today from NHS Track and Trace that I was in contact with somebody who tested positive and I have to self isolate. I didn’t know who it was because I didn’t see anybody at all, except of the staff in Job Centre today in the morning.

My guess is someone from my flight tested positive on the mandatory test on the second day. However, I logged in to the online account on Track and Trace and was informed I don’t have to self isolate. I bought two bags of groceries after that, just in case they change their mind again.

I will have another test in a walk in testing centre tomorrow and hopefully all will be fine. The Boyfriend however is now reluctant to visit me and I find it difficult to blame him, especially that he has asthma.

My flat is not overly clean, I find it difficult to do things due to anxiety and a bit of low mood. It’s a lot to do with me being unemployed but partly probably due to being disillusioned with life in general. When I was younger I expected exciting things, now I know they are unlikely to happen really, and at the same time things that I found exciting as younger, even if they were ordinary, like for example taking a course, don’t excite me that much now at all.

Redecor

It often seems to me like I experienced everything there is to experience and there’s nothing to look forward to. Other people, I suppose, get excited about their kids growing up, but I don’t have any kids, which wasn’t fully concious decision. It just happened that I don’t have them, while at the same time I never actively wanted to become a mum. I wonder sometimes if my life would be better if I had kids, but very often I think I wouldn’t be able to take care of them. I barely manage with taking care of myself.

But I’m wondering what is going to happen when I get older and possibly either The Friend or The Boyfriend will pass away? Mind you, The Friend lives in Poland now so I usually see her once a year.

I have another friend here, she’s also Polish and we met in my old workplace. She’s very friendly and genuine but she is 69 and wants to retire soon and go back to Poland, where her husband lives.

How do I make more friends? I am not quite sure. Sometimes I meet someone and either they turn out not to be such a nice person or they’re not interested in keeping in touch long term. I assume, there is something about me that makes me not extremely attractive to be around and ladies who have loads of friends already don’t really need me that much. If you know how to make friends if one is autistic let me know.

The sad truth

I spent yesterday looking through some job adverts and thinking what to do with myself. I was seriously considering getting a care job through an agency, even though I don’t drive so it may be difficult getting from place to place, but I thought working through an agency will give me the chance to avoid all the politics, that I can’t cope with.

Finally, towards the end of the day, I had that unpleasant realisation: whatever I chose to do it will end up being another thing on the list of places where I didn’t fit it.

The fact that I’m autistic doesn’t meant I don’t care whether I fit in or not. I do care a lot about it, but I wish it was easier. I wish people would find it interesting when I talk about stuff that are important to me.

Redecor

I like being with people at work and our superficial, short conversations, what I don’t like is when I find out that during the last 2 weeks they developed special bond with another staff member and they’re ready to make our chat even shorter to have more time to speak with that other person.

I don’t normally have the impression that people don’t like me, they do, it’s just that I’m their second best. I mean second, if there are two of us to choose from or, in general, the last best if there are more people.

I think, possibly I should use this time I have now to fully explore what I can do about that as otherwise I’ll never be able to be anywhere close to happy at work.

But then, can I actually do something about it at all? Is anything going to work? Did anybody ever succeed at getting reasonable adjustments to get people to like them more?

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