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.

Yay!

As this blog is meant to describe me, as an autistic person, and I did post in the past about some of my difficult emotions I think it’s only fair to also post when I feel better. So basically, I feel incredibly excited since yesterday afternoon. I have no idea what I am excited about: my shop cleaning job finished two days ago and my DBS is still not back. I received a letter from mum’s bank and they’re not going to refund her any of the stolen money that we have no evidence for, so what she’s going to get is like 10 percent of what was stolen and the bank is having difficulties to even admit their employee was stealing – they don’t even use the word fraud but instead call it ‘this situation’. Fantastic.

Home Group did not even contact me regarding the email I sent two weeks ago – this is, I guess, them saying they don’t really care about what happened to me, as long as their business is intact. It’s really strange that all those big companies create procedures for similar situations, and then, as things happen, the employees never follow them because they don’t want to disturb the internal politics. Would someone working in a customer service department stand up against their CEO – as I already contacted him and he ignored me? As much as I understand that in hindsight, having procedures that state a different behaviour is expected is only clouding my, autistic, judgment – if there was no procedures at all I’d be much better at predicting other people behaviour, or at least that’s what I think. I wonder what Professor Simon Baron-Cohen would say about that.

Ok, moving on from Home Group – I decided to complain to University of Cambridge about Professor Simon Baron-Cohen and his extreme inability to communicate with me. As I stated in one of my previous posts, I felt at some point that it’s getting a bit better but then suddenly Professor sent me an email to say he feels sorry for me, which just totally didn’t make any sense. I do not feel sorry for myself at all. In general it is said that autistics tent to have misunderstandings with people, but I’d expect it will be a bit better when you talk to world famous autism researcher, and instead it’s much worse. Professor Simon Baron-Cohen has an incredible ability to misinterpret absolutely everything that I am saying, therefore what value his research has? I only contacted University of Cambridge yesterday afternoon (Friday) about it so it’s too early to say anything. As much as I am curious about what will happen, I doubt my excitement comes from that.

I managed to secure another temporary job, in a warehouse this time – in a food distribution centre, I will be starting a training on Monday (it’s Saturday today) and it will include… driving pallet truck! I wonder how I’ll get on with that. Please keep your fingers crossed for me. Is it possible that my excitement comes from that? Possibly my subconscious mind already knows that I’ll be ok there, will get noticed for my ability to follow procedures and understanding systems and will keep getting promotion after promotion until I get to the very top? Oh well, probably not, but I’m very curious about how I will cope. I never tried this kind of job before so it will be interesting to see how it will work out.

Some greenery, we need it in winter

I was also thinking that possibly I should have two part time jobs instead of one. I used to do that in the past and I quite liked it: the transition from one job to the other helped me to release any tension; while being in one job only makes me feel trapped. I suppose there should be more understanding in the society for having two jobs – it seems like it’s often being seen as a sign of failure, inability to commit or possibly not being wanted anywhere full time. But the question is: do we need to commit? Obviously if you want to progress commitment is needed but plenty of us don’t want that, we just want to pay the bills and have some money left for fun things, so what is the commitment for?

It’s snowing at the moment, and it’s extremely windy. I’m unlikely to leave my flat today. I decided, however, I shouldn’t be spending all day in bed so I moved to the living room and I’m on the sofa… such fun! I don’t suppose I’m excited for that either. As I stay in I may do some updates on the blog: I decided symbols (as a form of communication) will get their own tag, as so Redecor. Redecor is a very important part of my life now, hard to understand how I coped without it, and I’ve only been playing for around 10 months. The more patterns I have available to use, the more fun it is, although again, I don’t suppose my excitement is caused by the game.

Did I mention I baked another lot of beetroot muffins? I used better quality beetroots this time and added some almond essence – they’re much better this time, no beetroot flavour, so this is, I think, the way to go with my baking. However, again, I don’t suppose that is what I’m excited about.

I also realised a little while ago how much better my mental health is now, when I don’t work in a care home any more. Possibly I should never go back to this kind of job? And not because I’m not a caring person. One thing that I found extremely difficult was the need to constantly switch between tasks: I could not do one thing for long enough before a different resident needed an urgent assistance. On top of that all that bitchiness you get there… God help me, seriously! And the problem is I tend to oversimplify everything where people are involved. I can think, for example, that everyone who works in a care home is caring so they will be nice people. And believe me, some staff really are not! And I don’t talk here about scandals like Winterbourne at all; the staff may be actually caring towards residents but bitchy towards themselves – not fun.

Ok, end of post. What am I excited about though? I still don’t know, but it’s a nice change at last.

Things change all the time

It’s been good couple of days since I last posted. It’s not like me to take a few days off from blogging, but then, I am a beginner blogger and my habits may change, especially after I state everything about my life history (you know, all the Home Group stuff and such) but this time the reason for not posting was that I sensed change coming in my circumstances and I didn’t want to bore my very few readers with every little details while at the same time agonising over what is and what is not appropriate to be discussed on a public blog and what consequences it can bring if I decide to include something.

I guess the biggest change is that I managed to finally find some common ground with Professor Simon Baron-Cohen. It does look like what happened before between the two of us, that I moaned about in here at least twice, was a miscommunication. It’s not good, obviously, when an autism researcher is unable to communicate with an autistic individual, but the truth is, he’s not the only one who has difficulties with that and if he wasn’t famous, I wouldn’t blame him for that at all.

So finally, after we both managed to see the other person’s perspective, we agreed to move on and leave things where they are.

The other thing is that last week I spoke with the lady who was my advocate a while ago. I initially asked her to speak with Home Group on my behalf but at the end I realised I’m better off to do that myself. If she reached out to them, she’d probably get better results, but then I’d end up agonising over the fact that Home Group only tries to be nice to me because my advocate works for a an organisation and they’re worried about their image only and not my wellbeing. So, last week I emailed Home Group on their general email address. I briefly described the situation, I stated that I post about it on my blog and that every time I do, I send an email to their CEO, but never got any reply. I asked if they have any comments regarding that.

It’s only been a few days and technically they could still reply but so far they didn’t. It’s a good exercise on trying to predict neurotypical people behaviour I suppose. What I would do if it was me who was working there and read similar email? I’d pass it on to my manager, that’s for sure. And then, what the manager would do? This is what I am not getting because on one hand they have all those procedures that state how to behave in similar situations, on the other, they would have to challenge their CEO, and what for, if I’m just a beginner blogger.

I guess we can safely assume there will be no response to that email, even if I email the link to this post to the CEO again. But then, that makes me wonder, what does he really think? Is he actually reading my posts? I find it impossible to work that out from my statistics.

If he reads them, does that mean he’s worried? Did he ever discuss the situation with anybody or he pretends it’s not really important? I find it so absolutely impossible to understand what neurotypicals really think in similar situations, especially that they have loads of procedures for everything but then, they hardly ever follow them, so the procedures only make it more confusing for me.

Ok, moving on from Home Group drama to ordinary life: I started using SAD therapy lamp within the last couple of days (SAD it a type of seasonal depression caused by lack of sunlight). I don’t think I have SAD but my energy levels are extremely low in between November to March. At times I can spend the entire day in bed, doing absolutely nothing and I’m not even bored. I started thinking lately that it maybe due to lack of light, especially that I find artificial light irritating and try to avoid it as much as possible. I have a couple of salt lamps at home and so far I mostly used those if I needed light on, but yes, they’re not very bright.

Apparently spending time in the dark is what causes the body to produce melatonin, that as a result makes us groggy. Why no one told me that before?! I thought spending time in the dark causes us to relax and when we had enough rest the enery will come back naturally!

So last week I bought that lamp online and I’d say it works. It is hard to say 100 percent how big the improvement is as on the weekend I had two jabs: flu and covid busters, and I felt quite unwell the next day, including having a fever, now I seem to have my monthly migraine, but yet I do get to do things without the feeling I have to force myself to get them done, my kitchen is tidy, washing up is done and I even started doing deep cleaning, so fingers crossed things will stay like that.

Apart from that, I also spoke with my mum’s care home manager and she wasn’t scary at all. Possibly ‘act normal’ is really best advice that can be given at some situations.

I also work as a cleaner in a popular clothes retailer, it’s only a temporary contract for just over two weeks, 3h a day, 5 times a week. Half of that time it takes me to hoover. It is slightly demanding physically, but then 3h a day is not much and I enjoy the fact that I don’t need to talk to anyone. I mean, I obviously answer questions if customer approaches me, but apart from that I just clean. I must admit I am slightly frightened of all those shop staff. They seem like a different species to me as they must obviously be interested in fashion.

My DBS (criminal record checks) is not back yet and I sometimes wonder whether I’d be able to start a job before Christmas. I’m ok for money for now but would not want to dive into my savings just to buy food, that feels pretty depressing. Regarding buying food though, I seem to find the reason why I used to eat so much and it’s something really surprising. However, I’ll leave this for the next post.

What I know about workplace politics

First of all I want to avoid the term office politics – after hearing it multiple times, we, autistics could assume that as long as we don’t work in an office we will be free from that. Believe me, care homes can be full of workplace politics too.

So, in a comment under my last post I, quite naively stated that people must do workplace politics because they’re bored. Only then another blogger’s comment made me think that possibly I’m wrong so I went to check it on Wikipedia and I found out the purpose of workplace politics is personal gain! I was quite shocked by that and needed time to process it, that’s why I didn’t post for a few days.

Obviously it wouldn’t be right to state that I don’t understand the purpose of workplace politics at all. I understand, and even appreciate some of it, like for example if someone wants to get promoted and they behave professionally at all times – that makes a lot of sense to me and it is certainly a behaviour that needs to be encouraged, even for people who don’t want a promotion.

At a push I could say I understand laughing at your boss jokes, even if you don’t find them funny. This is probably not something that I would do as I find pretending on demand difficult, it’s also possible I wouldn’t even get the fact my boss is trying to be funny but I am OK-ish with the fact that other people decide to react this way. I say OK-ish because I believe if everyone stopped laughing at crap jokes the boss would eventually stop making them and that would make everyone focus on work, but I kind of understand that neurotypical people may want to handle the situation differently.

What I don’t understand is more complicated than that and I really thought it’s done because of boredom, at least in situations when one doesn’t want a promotion. I always imagined it like that: the person wakes up on Monday and thinks to themselves: OK, so this week I’ll be nice to A and will be ignoring B. Next week I’ll do the opposite and see what comes out.

Because, seriously, what can be achieved by this type of behaviour? Only, possibly, a label of a person who’s difficult to work with. But here you are, Wikipedia states those behaviours are always for personal gains. What makes it even more difficult to understand is that this is never discussed openly: even if I talk to a colleague who knows what’s going on, they won’t tell me so I won’t be able to understand the situation at hand and also to use that as experience to understand similar situations in the future.

What is very disadvantageous about being autistic, in comparison with other disabilities, is the fact that no one can be requested to stop using social skills only because we don’t understand what they are doing. That is really not nice.

Workplace politics

Regarding other things in my life, I feel like a bad daughter again because I didn’t call my mum’s care home, when the manager asked me. She asked after I transferred some pocket money for mum without agreeing with the manager first (I thought I didn’t have to, it’s a long story, you can read it here https://autisticandme.com/2021/11/03/who-would-you-call-an-excellent-communicator/ but only if you really want to as it really is long and, if you’re not Polish, you may have difficulties to understand some parts of it, although if you’re neurotypical, you may actually understand it well and it’s only me, the autistic one, who underestimates you).

So, the manager emailed me to say the money I transferred over have to be allocated towards the care home fees and asked me to call her. But she already stated what she wanted so what was the purpose of that phone call? I’ll just reduce the next payment accordingly, there’s no need to talk any more. So I didn’t call. Quite frankly I am scared of that woman. I was even seriously considering moving mum somewhere else, just to avoid the manager for the future, but this is quite silly, so I abandoned that idea and instead decided to just feel like a bad daughter.

The Boyfriend already started wondering what we will be doing for Christmas but I think, if I get a booking as a live in carer, I’d rather work. Honestly, I was off work for quite long so I don’t even enjoy the idea of celebrating Christmas, it seems like just another day, the only difference is loads of food so we agreed that if it comes to that we’ll just celebrate on a different day.

It took my three days to recover after my two warehouse shifts and I only started having normal energy level yesterday around lunch time, although I am now wondering, maybe it was the thinking about workplace politics that took all the energy away from me, who knows? Trying to understand other people behaviour is tiring at best of times.

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.

Being off work – a little sum up

From what I remember, the last time I was actually at work was around the end of April, so it’s approximately 6 months now. Therefore I’d like to sum up this time here, not from the perspective of someone who can’t find a job (I did only start looking recently and received some job offers immediately) or someone who can’t pay the bills or put food on the table (most of my bills are paid by direct debit so that’s not an effort at all and I usually eat on the sofa) but from the perspective of an autistic person who managed to take time off and reflect on herself.

Initially, after I was suspended, but still employed, I took a bit of time to just rest. The year before I was suspended was a difficult one: in December 2019 I was sectioned while having a psychotic episode (a second one) and I spent a month in the hospital and then a few more weeks at home, first off sick, then working part time as a phased return. At the beginning of March 2020 I went to Poland to spend time with my family and that’s when Polish government introduced lockdown. It was all very stressful, while it was meant as a holiday before going back to work full time.

I managed to come back to the UK on one of the rescue flights a few days before I was initially planning to as staying there I was worried too much. I remember than when I was packing I got obsessed with taking all my belongings with me, like some acrylic paint that I was using to do art after recovering from my first psychosis, pijamas that was always there waiting for me to come over, some books I used to read in secondary school or even some not very elegant underwear. I ended up going back with two suitcases, not just one. I remember having that thought while packing that I’d never go back there… and that kind of turned out to be true. I went back there but things were never the same any more.

I came back to the UK, went to work, did like two or 3 shifts and my dad suddenly died. And I couldn’t go to the funeral.

I didn’t have good relationship with my dad at all but I was always telling myself that it’s due to his mental health problems and I really needed to see him that last time to say that I understand and forgive him and love him anyway and that was taken away from me, the same like his entire life.

In the meantime the UK introduced lockdown and all the services that I was intending to use to feel better, that finally were being available to me due to having history of two psychotic episodes (they were not available when I was just autistic) were starting to operate online instead of face to face and it didn’t agree with me. I also was unable to see The Boyfriend for several weeks.

In May I found out mum was taken to the hospital and from there to the care home, without asking her if that’s what she wanted or me what I thought about that. The care home staff was terrible and she was complaining of suicidal thoughts so when government in Poland suspended quarantine for people coming from abroad I went back and took mum out. I then quickly found out that there’s loads of money missing from her bank account. That was in the middle of August 2020.

Then mum and me decided she can’t stay in Poland so she’d come with me. My brother was drinking more severely than before and mum would be at risk of being hurt if she stayed there.

So at the beginning of September mum came with me and almost immediately wanted to go back. She would come into my bedroom on loads of mornings when I was meant to go to work to talk about how she’s worried about my brother and then I had to really rush in order not to be late. While my brother would call us and scream at her. Ten minutes after the phone call finished she’d say that she had a feeling that he changed. She was trying to control my spending and comment on clothes I was wearing and how I arranged my flat.

Rather plain reality

At the same time her bank completely ignored our complaints. At some point they actually changed the subject of complaint from ‘missing money’ into ‘poor customer service’. It wasn’t until I got the police involved that we finally felt someone is listening. Still, things were taking loads of time and we were asked to go there to give witness statement and, pandemic aside, when I was seeing how bank ignored us and our evidence for months, I started thinking that they’re all part of organised crime and when we go there, they’ll find us, kidnap and kill us to keep us quiet forever. It was reminding me the situation with Home Group – that was exactly subject of my delusions during my first psychotic episode (although it’s quite obvious that Home Group would like to keep me quiet, isn’t that right Mr Henderson?) and I started getting somehow paranoid.

Around the same time pharmacy (or maybe it was meds prescription service?) messed up my meds two months in a row so I’d decide to get off them as it was too stressful worrying if I’m going to get them on time…

I was off sick for three weeks around the time, certainly not enough, but then I had mum around the house moaning the entire time (well, I can’t really blame her for being stressed, it’s just that I didn’t know how to deal with that any more) so I just ended up going back to work. And that’s what happened… I ended up suspended and then fired. I’d never expected that’s what would happen to me, but it did.

So, first of all, I took some time to just do nothing and recuperate. Then, I wrote My Story. I’m glad I was off work when I did it as it needed a lot of focus to decide what details need to go into it, what needs to be left out. It took me two weeks to write it. If I was working at the same time I’d need probably like 6 months for that as my thinking process would be affected if I wouldn’t be able to fully focus on it.

Then I had this idea to start a website. At first it was meant to be very informative one and my personal experiences were meant to be left out. I wanted the website to be the a start of my own business – one where I’d be giving speeches to companies about my experience of employment with Home Group (at the time I still called them The Company) and it was meant to draw attention to workplace discrimination in relation to autism.

If you only just started reading now, I was employed by Home Group, harrased by a colleague, asked GP for autism diagnosis referral (that I earlier thought won’t be needed), got prioritised by the diagnostic centre due to my work situation but the diagnosis didn’t stop the harassment so I handed in my notice and took Home Group to employment tribunal where they claimed my diagnosis was private and they organised it through AXA occupational health! Seriously! That’s how bad workplace harassment can be if you’re on the spectrum.

A little bit of optimism.

So, as I was thinking, that was very important story for people to hear but knew that Home Group would likely try to stop me if I try to talk about it just like that so I was spending loads of time planning what to do about that. I was even trying to arrange for a legal advice but at the end decided not to proceed with it. Legal advice felt like I was going for a fight and that wasn’t my intention at all. My intention was to raise awareness.

So anyway, as I was thinking how to secure my right to talking openly about what happened to me in Home Group I realised I missed an important factor: if I approach businesses with my story, they may possibly want to pay for me to talk to their staff, at least initially, and I may be able to get my business going for a while but the end result won’t be what I was aiming for, it won’t be better understanding and inclusion for an autistic staff.

The end result will be that people in charge get that message accross: if you have an autistic employee taking you to employment tribunal you’d better check all the paper work five times!

That wasn’t what I was aiming for. What I was aiming for was understanding and inclusion and therefore possibly from this place in this post I should express that I’m ready to forgive (well, at least I’m trying) and that Mr Henderson can contact me through my psychiatric nurse (he was given her contact details once) if he wants to apologise.

However, I need to make it clear here, this is not something I can keep quiet about. As I already stated million times my aim is to raise the awareness. Being quiet won’t achieve that.

What is going to happen now? (Me vs Home Group)

So, those who read me regularly (it seems that there are a couple of people who do) may know that an inspiration to set up this blog was my focus on how autistics communicate and how different it may be from neurotypical communication (but how do neurotypical communicate???). By communication I don’t just mean how we use words to pass on messages but also how we use our actions and how we understand statements made by other people and how we interpret their actions.

I make an effort to write about it when something worth mentioning happens but I also ended up writing about my personal problems, my feelings, my mental health and, well… The Company.

What happened between me and The Company has been described in more details in My Story, but they are anonymous there. What the story doesn’t mention is, when I tried to access mental health treatment in Poland, after I ended up there, my PTSD was misdiagnosed by doctors as schizophrenia and it took them good couple of months to finally put me on strong anti anxiety meds.

The Company is a real organisation, a large housing association that gets paid by government to support people with mental health problems. They are called Home Group, you can Google them, they’re real, they have head office in Newcastle, UK.

Redecor

So the issue with them is such: I had problems with a colleague there that turned into bulling. It was at the same time when I realised I’m autistic so I asked my GP to refer me for diagnosis. I was thinking naively, as autistics are much more likely to get bullied, if I have the diagnosis, the bulling will have to stop. To make the matter worse, the autism diagnostic centre agreed to bring my appointment forward due to my work situation, which for me was like if they said I was right: yes, diagnosis will make the bulling stop.

Let me tell you, it didn’t. It only made the matter worse. So I finally handed in my notice and took them to employment tribunal. In their response to my claim Home Group stated that my diagnosis was private and they paid for it, but it was on NHS and my employer never got involved.

That was the last straw, the direct reason for me developing psychosis.

How did I feel at the time? Frightened a lot. I thought they’re everywhere, I imagined they made friends with my doctors and were telling everybody not to listen to what I had to say. I thought they made friends with the judge in tribunal, with my job coach in Job Centre (however, that bit could actually be true). When I got to Poland, travelling as my hallucinations started, I thought they followed me, I had hallucinations when they came into my house to drag me out of it, put into their car, drive to the forest somewhere far away so that no one could ever find my body, then they tell me to dig my own grave so that I’d never speak again.

A couple of times I tried hiding in the bathroom, behind the bath, on the floor or climbed to the attic, even though there’s no heating there and I’m oversensitive to cold. That’s how frightened I was.

I remember running through the church full of people because something that the priest said frightened me.

I was then frantically trying to find a place to hide and found one near the church organs. The organ player was a bit concerned by my strange behaviour and tried to find out the reason for it but I refused to speak up. Finally I gave him the piece of paper that I had in my trousers pocket: ‘Home Group wants to kill me because I wanted to campaign’ – that’s what it said.

He asked if he should call the police but I refused. I was sure police was also involved and convinced by Home Group to never listen to what I have to say.

So those were my delusions and hallucinations, however, they were based on the truth: Home Group would not want me to speak up, would they? Also they didn’t need to make friends with doctors or police: they just created a situation that was so unbelievable on social level that no one would ever believe it.

Put such a lie in an official document for employment tribunal? Who would do that??? They’d loose!

That’s why doctors in Poland diagnosed me with schizophrenia: they just didn’t believe what happened to me.

And Home Group didn’t loose because I couldn’t take it no more. How smart was that?!

So what is going to happen now???

It is said that autistics are not good at predicting other people behaviour. But then, are neurotypicals that much better than us? If psychiatrists in Poland didn’t believe what happened to me, they’d also would not be able to predict it may happen.

Redecor

So, what is going to happen now? I informed The CEO, Mr Henderson twice already that I write about the situation on my website and that I revealed The Company name. There was no reaction.

I sarcastically asked him if they’re going to threaten to sue me for slander but there’s no slander here, I’m only stating the facts.

I think they didn’t look far enough in the future hoping I’m not going to recover. Yes, they are paid by government to support people with mental health problems, but they’re not paid to support me so my mental health doesn’t matter.

But I didn’t set up this blog to talk about what Home Group did to me, did I? I set it up to talk about my autistic view of the world around. Yet Home Group is part of my story, and an important one. And please don’t tell me I could have just continued calling them The Company because if I’d do that no one would believe it. People would think I’d made it all up.

So what is going to happen now, if they can’t sue me for slander? What are they going to do??? Hack WordPress services so that no one would ever find this website? That’s the only thing that comes to my mind.

Errands

I spent today running the last of my errands. Mum insists on me to pay her bills, which are technically my brother’s now as it’s only him who lives in the house, but everything is registered on her. It’s not always easy to pay the bills online here and I have the impression that there’s more of them here. For example there is a separate bill for water and waste water and more over the providers are different too!

Mum insisted on me to pay till the end of this year. She said my brother will pay later. I wish to see that.

I’ll see mum the last time tomorrow. The rest of my trip is pretty much arranged: I’m taking the train to Kraków on Saturday, staying two nights in a hostel dorm (I purposely chose one with curtains around beds) and flying back to the UK on Monday late morning, the first day of new travel regulations, when I don’t need to do covid test before boarding.

I feel sad. All day today, as I was walking through various parts of town I kept thinking that this is where I belong, at least in a way… This is where my home should be, I should have never left not only the country but even the area. Those are quite normal feelings for me, I have them pretty much every time when I come to visit but this time I’m also sad because I’m leaving mum without anyone close to take care of her, to bring her a fruit, pair of socks or instant cappuccino.

Image from my new ID. I look a bit like a ghost, don’t I?

I kept having the urge several times today to grab my mobile and blog about my feelings for a bit, like I used to do when I just started but I must say I find it difficult to get used to the fact that people read my posts. Not that I don’t want them… I guess it’s much more complicated than that. In a way I want to be heard for who I really am, but then how do I know if this is really happening, how do I know that people don’t form opinions that I wouldn’t agree with? How do I know they’re not judging?

Possibly someone may say I’m immature, not being able to move on from the idea of mum taking care of me, but this is exactly how I feel. I’m not sure what’s behind my emotional reaction but possibly I subconsciously know that I’m unable to navigate external world the same way others do. Is mum able to help me? No, she’s probably even more clueless than me. Possibly her constant eagerness to help while at the same time having no idea how is what disables me even more but I don’t care now: I am grieving what I used to have.

I need to go back home, to the UK, find a job and take it from there. Please tell me that all will be well, that’s exactly what my mum used to do every time I put myself into troubles.

What if… I’m not the lucky one?

I read a blog post today, about a young lady diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. It was on Rethink.org website. I won’t be giving a link here, I’m a bit paranoid that the page may be removed on a later date and my link will not work, so I’d rather cope without one.

Schizoaffective disorder is a mix of schizophrenia and bipolar and the lady has to take medication for it. She tried to get off it once and it didn’t work for her. She said she initially had a feeling that things aren’t real. And I think this is how I feel a lot lately. But then things are not like they used to be and not how I expected them at all.

I am staying in a hostel merely 7km away from my family home, my brother is drinking and lost all touch with reality, mum is in a private care home and I moved her there and her favourite bank employee is in prison. Oh, and I was sacked from my job. And I lost my ID card so I can’t go back home. This is all absolutely bizarre so it feels unreal.

Having a rest is not going to help me much, I will still wake up in the hostel and without the ID.

I remember now how I came to conclusion that the policeman who investigates fraud told me that I was first to report it and that many more people were victims because he wanted us to feel a bit better. I really thought that was consulted with police psychologist as a part of victim support. But then, would you call that delusion? Or maybe mere misinterpretation due to being autistic and not understanding police procedures?

Me

That’s what is the most difficult for me, after I realised I’m autistic: earlier on if I couldn’t understand a situation I assumed people are weird and I kept away from them. It was working for me rather well. And yet, shortly after my diagnosis I came up with an idea that by doing that I’m missing out on something so possibly I should make an effort to understand what is going on when things are unclear.

So far nothing good came out of that. Maybe it would for others, but not for me. But it feels to me like that process cannot easily be stopped: my mind is on a lookout to find a meaning everywhere. I don’t know how to switch it off.

What if I eventually get another episode, merely from looking for meaning where there isn’t any? I thought I’m the lucky one, after two episodes I’m not on permanent meds but if I get a third one doctors will certainly want to keep me on something, no matter the side effects. So possibly I’m not the lucky one, possibly I’m just myself. And having a rest is not going to help here because I’ll wake up in the hostel anyway.

Current mood (bipolar?)

So, after my second psychotic episode I was told I’m bipolar. I don’t fully agree with this and it makes me sad that I can’t just be ‘myself’: a person with Asperger’s who is so bad at managing emotions that she ended up so upset and unable to calm down and sleep that it caused her hallucinations.

Sometimes, what can easily be interpreted as bipolar, I just feel angry because I noticed that someone took an advantage of me and I had no idea till sometimes later. I mean, some people take an advantage of the fact I’m socially naive and I only notice that when they proceed to break procedures (I’m very good with procedures and information so I notice that). What happens then is, I feel extreme anger and want to punish them somehow. I believe I in fact behave at times like someone who’s bipolar. But if I was not taken an advantage of, that wouldn’t happen at all. So possibly I’m not bipolar?

Tomaszów

I also never make any risky decisions and don’t overspend. I actually asked for my bipolar diagnosis to be evoked but somehow it didn’t happen yet. Possibly I need it to have this little bit of support I’m getting from my mental health team, that I can’t get for Asperger’s (and actually why not? Can someone explain that to me?)

My dad was also diagnosed with bipolar. I can’t fully comment if he had it or not but meds never seemed to work to calm him down and he was on loads. As I already mentioned, I believe he was undiagnosed autistic.

My current mood is stable. I just need to get my ID card and find a job and all will be well. And blogging also helps, putting myself out there with the truth about myself is something I really need. I shpuld have done that ages ago, but somehow I didn’t.

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