Am I on monitoring?

That was my general impression when I went to Poland during my first psychotic episode in 2017. There were things happening to me that were really strange but made me feel safe – which is exactly the opposite of patients experience during psychosis. I could talk about it for a bit but to make long story short I’ll just give you one example and we can always come back to it later.

My flight was on 7th of September and a few days later I went to town with mum, so possibly it was like 12th? I was still psychotic. I used to have a saving bank account there, one without a card so if I wanted to check my balance or withdraw money I had to go to the bank. So on that day I went to that bank with mum and I remembered how much money I should have, which wasn’t loads but would let me live there for good couple of weeks.

The bank clerk wrote something on a piece of paper and gave it to me. I had a look and it stated 23.09 which would be around 5 pounds, much less that I was expecting. But I didn’t freak out as I got that idea that the bank is giving me deadline. I had to do something by 23rd. I just didn’t know what the deadline is for. I felt that I had to work it out. I said thank you and walked away.

There were things happening after that too. I remember that strange meeting in the council where staff involved was behaving so out of character that I knew, even though I was psychotic, that wasn’t normal. There were loads of things… oh well, I was meant to just say one. But I’ll give you a couple more. When I was trying to book my ticket, in the morning on the 7th of September, neither Ryanair no EasyJet website let me do it but they both had the same error. That was really strange. So I went to Polish Airlines Lot website and again, I couldn’t buy any other ticket but only premium economy flight to Warsaw. Warsaw is their closest airport to my family home but I used to travel to places further away before, stay there for a bit and then go home on a bus or train. That’s what I wanted to do on that day as well but the website didn’t give me any other options. It was like if someone predicted what I may want to do and knew I’m about to start hallucinating so they wanted to send me straight home.

As I said there was more of these things. Anyway, let’s go back to my bank balance. I was thinking for a few days about what the bank wants me to do and finally, while still somehow psychotic, I came up with that explanation: the bank wants me to go to psychiatrist because what’s happening to me is not normal. I then started pursuing my mum to take me there.

As I started recovering those things stopped happening but I couldn’t shake off the feeling that it happened for real. I know that people in psychosis have those ideas that they’re being monitored but they find it frightening. I found it supportive and helpful. I then came up with explanation that after I started complaining to my diagnostician, Oriana Morrison-Clarke, about my situation in Home Group, she put me on safeguarding and was monitoring me. Anyway, as I recovered I stopped thinking about it and accepted it must have been all in my head. I mean the airlines websites didn’t work properly due to unrelated issues, the staff from my bank made an error and the people in the council were behaving strangely because they saw I was being strange.

But now, for a little bit already, probably less than a year, I have the same impression, although not so intensified. For example my psychiatric nurse has such a strange first name and a surname that it sounds to me like it’s been made up. Why? So that if I go to see her or call and ask receptionist about her, everyone knows that it’s that lady who’s being monitored. Last year I was in touch with a guy from my mental health partnership trust and I asked him about it. I mean, I was sure he won’t tell me the truth if that’s the case but I wanted to observe his reaction. At first he said in his email that he doesn’t know my nurse and later on he wrote ‘I can confirm that FirstName Surname is on her birth certificate’. So he didn’t know her, yet he knew what was on her birth certificate? Does that make any sense? It felt like he was saying no but hinting yes. Which is probably what neurotyoical people do in a conversation where they can’t say things directly.

And now, what happened was, I received 3 separate emails from my mum’s care home with invoces for her meds. And every email contained the same sentence ‘invoices to pay for things that were being brought to her before she passed away’. So that means she was sick. But the staff yesterday said that she passed away peacefully? But they also said that she ate her supper as normal at 6pm and died around half an hour later. But when they called me it was like 6.03pm in Poland. So it was like they were hinting that it happened earlier.

And now those three emails. Things were being brought to mum before she passed away so that means she was sick. No one writes three emails with the same content, that’s not normal. And yet they are there. One email would mean mum was ill. Two she was quite ill. Three means she was really ill. That’s how I understand it.

The last couple of days I felt really strange. I was in some kind of trance that I thought happened because I was focusing on writing posts about sexuality, but at times I almost felt like I was being haunted. Like if someone was calling me from far away. Who knows, maybe it was my mum, wanting to spend her last days with me by her side? How do we know it’s not possible? Maybe the fact that I had two psychotic episodes made me more open for those signals? That feeling went away yesterday around lunchtime I think.

It’s so strange now that I have to deal with everything by myself. My brother is there but he won’t do anything. At first I wanted to arrange funeral as soon as possible, now I want things to drag. What will be tomorrow I have no idea.

My mum died

Her care home called me around 30 minutes ago and I kind of knew that was it. Possibly because they never call? If there was an issue, they emailed and told me to call them back.

She was apparently doing ok, had her supper like every day and then… it’s very sudden.

I called my brother to tell him and asked him if he can take care of things and he told me to call again tomorrow. Strange but that didn’t surprise me at all.

I suppose I feel relieved in a way. I came to see dementia as a slow goodbye. Like mum is still here, but she’s not at the same time so I’m getting ready for her to leave for good. I didn’t talk to her for a bit, not even for Christmas. I didn’t want to. The last time I did she didn’t make any sense and I didn’t want to remember her like that.

It’s so strange that just a few months ago she was here, with me, cooking dinners and doing shopping. I know, it’s age, but it’s still strange that things can progress so quickly.

I got in touch with funeral director and they said they can organise everything so that I just come for funeral. Still, there will be things to organise except of funeral. I don’t know where I should stay when I go there. It’s very cold now in Poland. I know I can’t stay at home but the hostel where I was in September doesn’t really seem suitable for this difficult moment. I’m thinking, possibly I’ll stay in a proper hotel in a town centre for the first couple of nights and then I’ll move to the hostel if I need to stay longer for any reason.

I don’t suppose I’ll be putting any sexual content for a bit now.

Croissants and yoghurt – continuation

Ok, just a quick post as I’m really tired today. I barely had any sleep last night, that’s how bad the mattress in the previous hotel was. Now I’m in Weymouth and trying to rest but I feel like the whole idea of blogging about autism specific communication is suddenly overwhelming me. Possibly there is no such thing? Who knows? The idea of a blog came from meeting my diagnostician, who, I noticed, was really skilled in communicating with me, which then made me want to work out how she was doing it so that I could improve communication with my autistic boyfriend without being too direct.

I did even wrote a post about how I decided to turn mine and The Boyfriend’s dinners into ‘surprises’ which then in fact made him more relaxed about what’s for dinner, yes, but after a while the pressure moved to breakfast. I did think recently that possibly the issue here is that surprise means something special, not just something unexpected so possibly he is ok with the unexpected bit when he eats dinner and then he is like: wait a minute, what’s special about it so he wants something special for the next meal.

It did come to me also that technically me and The Boyfriend never agreed that I’m going to feed him when he comes over so he is anxious if food is going to be available at all? I’m not sure, just guessing. The problem here is that, even though I’m also autistic, I find it impossible to imagine what he is thinking. Partly it maybe because we, autistics, fit everything into patterns that we already know and my and his patterns are different. Food seems to be a big part of a dating game in the UK (‘is he taking you out for dinner?’, ‘I’ll cook for you’) while in Poland people eat whatever when they date, first dates are usually cinemas and actual eating out usually only happens when you’re in commited relationship, and still not too often.

It’s possible then that The Boyfriend feels confused about my relaxed attitude to food and he thinks that means I don’t love him enough? Again, that is just a guess, but I am beginning to see that instead of trying to hint him I need to speak with him openly.

Anyway, what I wanted to say here was that when I went for breakfast today in my previous hotel in Portland there was nothing cooked but croissants and yoghurt were there. Exactly like the receptionist hinted two days ago. My first thought was, ok, I did get this right then but then I immediately thought something was wrong. Like you know, if she was only hinting, why the things are there exactly how she said? If she wanted me to know exactly what is going to happen, she would have said ‘we are unable to serve cooked breakfast on the second day of your stay but croissants and yoghurt will be provided’.

If she was hinting then croissants and yoghurt were only symbols of ‘something simple that doesn’t need cooking’ so why not cheese or ham for example? Did shop not have any other choices that would make the hotel staff inspired? Or possibly they had some croissants and yoghurt sitting in the pantry and needing eating but then if the cook only went off sick with covid recently and before that cooked breakfast was standard then croissants and yoghurt shouldn’t be in pantry… Can you see where I’m going with this? It looks like it makes sense when it doesn’t.

What I wanted to say was that seeing the food items like in the hint (I mean brioche was also there, but it’s almost the same thing like croissants) really freaked me out. I even though for a bit that someone read my blog and wanted to let me know I’m getting things correctly. But then, wow, I am not that popular let’s be honest. If it continues like that however, I mean me overthrinking the communication I’d need to close the blog for my own mental health.

Although I can, I suppose, write about how I got sectioned in 2019. I promised it and never got down to do it. Maybe we’ll find a way though. I have too many posts to delete them. I can always take a little break, I suppose.

One more explanation: what the receptionist said (Please see previous croissant post) meant to me that yoghurt ad croissants are always available but because sausages were meant to be offered on the first day, I thought I’d just eat sausages. Andon the second day sausages weren’t meant to be offered, therefore I’d be left with croissants and yoghurt. She didn’t say a word about breakfast for the second day, it was just how I interpreted her words.

End of! I’m fed up with autism specific communication skills!

A night of poor sleep

Ok, so I didn’t prioritise sleep yesterday as I chose to do patterns instead, until around 10pm when I saw those two images with words ‘game over’ in my PicsArt feeds. It was really strange, wouldn’t you agree? But I stated here before that I respond to notifications. Of course not all of them – that would only make me crazy! There’s plenty of those that I ignore. I should have probably said that I respond to notifications that make sense to me. It made sense to stop playing as it was time to go to sleep, so I stopped.

Still, I had 6 hours of sleep which a year ago would be considered good. If I say now it was poor, it’s a reflection of the improvement I’ve made.

I tried a few different photo editing apps yesterday and it all seems so complicated to me. I guess I may use them from time to time but will probably stick to PicsArt for most of my work as it’s what I’m used to, but also it offers some functionality that I didn’t find anywhere else.

I was wondering recently whether what I do with patterns can be called art. I don’t know how else to call it but art is a big word in Poland. To be an artist one needs to be really devoted and probably also starving. There is this expression though,’amateur artist’ that can be used for someone who does art in their spare time or someone without formal training. However, even full time artists, when interviewed, say they don’t consider themselves to be an artists and this is used as expression of modesty.

That’s what I made yesterday

I read an interview with Martin Sati recently, an amazing artist who creates beautiful digital paintings made of lines. I especially love his colorful birds. He’s Spanish and says the same thing: he’s not an artist. He’s an illustrator. And I think, how confusing that is. What does he illustrate, if he’s an illustrator? If he illustrates books for a client, then yes, he’s an illustrator. If he creates to fulfill his own vision, he’s an artist. I really wish people stop having such difficulties with this word as it only makes it more difficult for me to make sense of things.

So am I an artist or a pattern maker? But then, who is a pattern maker, people may ask? They may think it’s someone who makes something that can be cut out, like a sewing pattern for example. If I tell them I’m a digital artist they’ll moreless know what I do and can just ask for details.

I have almost no food in the house. I need to do some proper shopping before I go away to my live in care job. I also have another interview today, for a bank position in a care home. I still don’t know what to say in my ‘about’ statement. One reason that I have so much problem with it is that I don’t like drawing too much attention to myself. It doesn’t seem very professional to me.

Happy New Year!

So, yesterday at 9am I realised it’s new year already, 2022. Before that I thought it’s the last day of previous year! How strange, isn’t it? Perhaps the new year parties are not such a big deal like they are in Poland, that’s why I was mistaken about the date.

I must say I do miss the atmosphere of the last day of the year in Poland. A couple of years ago, me, The Friend, and The Friend’s friend met in Kraków and we had a fantastic time. I was depressed at the time – that was the last new year before my employment tribunal claim and my first psychotic episode – but I managed to have a good fun.

I sometimes wonder how come I managed to get myself out of that misery and come back to a normal life where even relationship with The Boyfriend hasn’t been severely affected (obviously we had some arguments on the way, but not many at all). Perhaps I really am a lucky girl. If that’s true, however, I need to remind myself occasionally that luck shouldn’t be pushed.

Yesterday I set up an etsy store for my patterns but I found it really daunting – preparing a listing takes me more time than actually doing the pattern. Surely, it shouldn’t be like that? I created 6 listings and they’re not even described properly, I will update them when I feel like it but to be honest I doubt to have loads of sales from that. Etsy has so many items for sale that being discovered this way is very unlikely, but then, at least I have a shop there so I can now say I’m a digital artist. Well, I guess I could call myself digital artist even if I’m not selling my work, but it just doesn’t seem right to me – I guess that’s my autistic self trying to fit everything into the pattern that I already know.

I’m worried a bit about the resolution of my images. If it was higher I could create more effects, but then Redecor is a game, not a digital art tool and high resolution is not what most players look for while it would certainly eat more online data.

I managed to pay my service charges on time. I think I mentioned it here, how I am always late with this particular bill – all other bills are paid by direct debit but service charges are payable every three months only and it doesn’t make any sense to me that they can be paid by direct debit. They apparently can but my mind doesn’t want to accept it, and then when I get a bill, I never get to pay it on time.

During the last year I was getting the same bill twice. I guess it’s some kind of error in the council? But who knows, maybe it’s the council hinting me that I really do need to pay it. I guess, as I’m autistic and focused on patterns, a single event doesn’t make much sense to me (bill being sent once only) so I used to wait till I get a reminder. Since they come in pairs I somehow pay on time. It’s really strange, isn’t it? I knew that it has to be paid and yet I wasn’t paying it.

I think I’ll go to my bank and ask for direct debit to be set up for that too. I mean, I could probably do it myself online but I’d then end up worrying I set it up incorrectly, only because it’s not going to be paid monthly.

Oh, and did I say my DBS came back? Eventually! I’m going on training on the 11th. I can’t wait! I hope, after all this time when I was being left to my own devices I’ll be able to adjust to a work environment again.

I had this idea lately: I’m making effort to write about autism specific communication skills that I noticed my diagnostician, Oriana Morrison-Clarke, using with me as I found them really effective, but I didn’t realise they could be used to take advantage of us! It is said that we, autistics, can be gullible and naive – well, I don’t think that applies to me, on most occasions (however, I need to mention here at some point the situation with a mortgage advisor who apllied for a mortgage for me behind my back) but who knows, if someone was using all the correct communication skills, possibly I’d be much easier to be deceived? It’s so difficult now to decide if I should talk about those techniques. But then, if I don’t, I could pretty much close my blog. Well, I don’t know, but at least I have some awareness of the issue.

That’s it for today, I suppose. Since I started creating patterns writing become more difficult. Hopefully with time I’ll adjust and I can do both. I really like having a blog.

Why I post more than once on some days

I did hear (and read) that people blog to connect with others or to build community (and following). As much as I admire them for that, let’s make that clear: those things are unlikely to happen for me. Well, I guess, with time I may get more readers but I doubt I’ll be able to build a community. But the thing is, I’m autistic so community is not my thing. Or connecting with people for that matter.

What I am trying to do instead is, to report on how I am thinking and feeling to make it easier for people to understand us, autistics – even though, obviously, I am fully aware of the fact that each and every one of us is different. That’s why I decided to post as I go – when my feelings and thoughts are still fresh. Sometimes, I do admit, I read my post a few days later and I don’t fully know myself what I meant! This is a result of the fact that I put so much effort into explaining myself that I don’t get to see when I don’t make sense any more.

I hope this will happen less and less as I keep blogging.

Regarding connection with people, there used to be a fellow blogger who commented on most of my posts and, as nice as it was, especially when she was validating my feelings about what happened in Home Group, I found it to be a block for my creativity (well, ok, I know, I just stated I’m blogging to report, not to be creative, try not to take what I say too directly), because I felt like I was forcing her to read my posts. I do hope she’s doing ok but I feel better without frequent comments.

So I’m hoping, after a while people will understand that some of our difficulties come from the fact how we understand the world around us, and are not a result of our communication difficulties. When neurotypical people, and that includes autism researchers, make wrong assumptions about us, that’s really hurtful and it prevents the sience from going forward. That is not something that I’d ever support.

The gas meter engineer turned up and is just fighting with it outside in the dark (well, he has a torch). Spending almost an hour on the phone paid off, thank god. I just hope there will be no further issues from now on. I did start feeling like, if I don’t sort it out, I’m never attempting to handle any issue myself. Or any issue at all, I’m going back to Poland!

Update: it has been sorted! What a relief, I’m back to normal life from tomorrow. I mean, where’s my DBS?

I mean the guy was speaking a bit slowly to me. I guess that’s the result of the fact that I told the customer service earlier on they have to prioritise me as I’m autistic. Here you are.

Life, without heating, is miserable

So, as I probably mentioned here before, I’m oversensitive to cold. I was told during my diagnostic assessment this is due to autism, which could be true, as my dad was exactly the same, but it only started when I was around 23. Possibly the stress of adulting did it to me? I don’t know. I mean, I never was a ‘hot’ person, but I was not as cold as I am now. I have a small, oil heater in my bedroom, very close to the bed, that is OK to be covered, so when central heating doesn’t feel sufficient enough, I put this heater on, lay down in bed and cover it with a duvet, so that the heat gets directly on me. What happens sometimes as a result is, my skin gets hot to touch but I feel freezing inside.

Luckily enough the flat I own is fairly warm and it has large windows. Even in winter, as long as it’s sunny outside, I don’t need heating on between 10am and 3pm, however, today the weather is really miserable, it’s raining and it’s really windy and I’m not allowed to use central heating as the supply hasn’t been checked yet, after the fire yesterday. So I pretty much stay in bed with the oil heater ‘by my side’ as you could say. I didn’t do any tidying or washing up for 2 days and my kitchen looks really messy now. But at least the fridge is back in it’s place as the electrician came in late morning and said there are no cables coming from the downstairs flat, which means the smoke must have been coming through floorboards.

I just realised one thing, totally autism related: I do say I’m a lot like my late dad, who must have been undiagnosed autistic. However, my dad used to be obsessed with dates and anniversaries. He would come up to me and said, for example: tomorrow will be 23 years when I bought a tractor. He also remembered loads of dates from modern history, in general modern history was his special interest. I know nothing about history, I’m so bad that when I lived in Poland I was, at times ashamed. In the UK, however, people don’t seem to be that focused on history, and also, if I don’t understand the origin of a certain tradition (like bonfire night for example) I just ask. I’m a foreigner so it’s ok if I don’t know. I forget shortly afterwards.

I must say here, in my defence, that before communism ended in Poland, we were taught different version of history, and then no one actually explained to us why was that, I guess everyone was hoping we’d work it out with time. Possibly teachers didn’t want to say that what we were told when we were younger was not true because they were worried that we’ll start questioning knowledge from other subjects as well?

And then, after communism ended, history lessons were all about making notes from our handbook. There was no lectures, no discussions, no films, basically nothing interesting, but also it was impossible to get a negative grade, so that’s how I got by. Now, when I happen to read an article or watch a video about history, I doubt totally everything in it. I mean I know that WWII started on 1st of September 1939 and finished sometimes in 1945. I know Poland’s boundaries changed multiple times throughout the history. I know, we used to be a huge country at some point, but I don’t know exactly when it was. Trying to work out what really happened and what didn’t is not possible for me. So I’m wondering how my dad managed that, especially that he only finished primary school – he was born in 1936 so further education was not easily accessible at the time.

Yes, so what I was saying earlier, I also realised I’m not obsessed with dates like my dad. When the electrician came, he asked me how long I lived here and I only realised later on that tomorrow will be the an anniversary of me moving into this flat. Funny thing, isn’t it? My dad remembered when he got himself a tractor, I forget when I bought my first property.

As the electrician left, he called me a poppet. Strange, isn’t it? I’m a middle aged autistic female, not a poppet.

Maybe I could become one, what do you think? Maybe life would be easier?

At least being miserable and cold is good for my writing. If it continues this way I may even hit 300 posts by the evening! Oh, I didn’t write the news about Professor Baron-Cohen and what he said yet. I will do later, I promise, although possibly not today. I like when my mind has a chance to wonder for a bit.

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.

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.

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.

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?

What comes next

I really didn’t want to go to work today in the morning. I am sorry to say that but this is probably the most boring job I’ve ever had. Who said that autistic people want to do repetitive tasks over and over? I mean, ok, there is something calming in the fact that I know that when I go there again, hoovering will be the first thing to do and will take me one and half an hour, but… if I want to do things a bit differently, there’s no space for that.

When I was a housekeeper in a hotel (mind you, I did it for one day only), I felt there was something magical in the fact that I enter a room that a guest just left and I’m preparing it for another guest. It felt like for those couple of minutes (well, it was probably more like 3 quaters of an hour) I was part of their life. Well, ok, after a day of this work I had such a terrible back pain that could barely move, so no magic could make up for it, I’m just summing up the general experience.

Cleaning in a shop is mostly removing dust, and believe me, there’s loads of it. Dust can even settle on a vertical surface, did you know about that? I only found out a few days ago. So it is really boring, after a while. Well, I can probably say, that I am cleaning so that people can come over and buy some new, fancy clothes, but – this is probably what is a big problem here – I am a no logo girl. So, in my head, there’s no reason for people to come to this shop for clothes.

By being no logo girl I don’t mean we should all start buying all our clothes from Primark from now on (for those from outside of the UK: Primark is a chain selling extremely cheap clothes, sometimes badly made), I do understand that logo reflects quality a lot of times and that we need good quality clothing so that we could donate them to charity shops when we’re bored with them while lower quality clothing is going to end up in landfill much quicker, however, I still do not fully understand the purpose of brand.

I mean, I get the fact that business owners want to differentiate themselves from competitors, but still, the fact that they use brand to do that is something I don’t fully get. Brand is something totally made up, isn’t it? You can’t wear it, can you? So why people put so much attention to it, I don’t really know.

Another part of the problem is that I really don’t understand what this particular brand is actually selling. Grunge clothing on one hanger, a cardigan that my grandma would be proud to wear to church in the 80s on another… That doesn’t make any sense to me.

It is said, sometimes, that autistic people don’t understand fashion. Mind you, for some of us fashion is our special interest, but as you probably guessed correctly, I’m not one of those people. I’m one of those people who could argue that fashion doesn’t really exist or, at least, is overrated. I mean, ok, I just mentioned grandma style cardigan in an on trend clothing store, but possibly you know what I mean.

When I was 12 and I went to town with mum, I’d knew within 30 minutes what was in style: I saw 3 ladies wearing white buttoned, slightly transparent blouse over colorful, floral bra, so this must have been on trend. It was not on trend the next year or the year before. Now, when I am at work, I see a very nice satin top just by the entrance, and it’s almost identical to what I bought in M&S 3 years ago, just in a different colour. I’ve never seen anyone wearing anything similar on the street, so I find it difficult to believe those tops were ever on trend, although certainly they were in stock in more than one clothing shop.

So that is my understanding of fashion: trends are just unnecessary distraction, especially when there’s so many of them. I wonder if anyone has similar views, whether you’re autistic or not.

If it was up to me I’d created a universal clothing brand that companies could sign up to and the clothes created for that brand would have to meet strict quality criteria. Then people would now that what they’re buying is not going to fall apart after wearing twice, won’t shrink in a wash, won’t shred and even, possibly, was made of recycled plastic bottles, yet it’s fully breathable.

Even less patterns

I made parsnip muffins today and they’re ok, although have strange parsnip aftertaste and I really don’t know where this is coming from, any ideas?

Tomorrow I’ll be having a day off, possibly my last one, as my last day of cleaning job will be Thursday. So from Friday I won’t have any more days off, I’ll have days of full time unemployment. You could argue those are pretty much the same thing, I will insist they really are not!

I had this idea a while ago to go to a cafe one day and ‘work’ from there. I mean, write a post while having a coffee and a slice of cake on a commercial premises, which I think I already done once while in Poland (and the cake was not great). Obviously blogging is not my job as no one pays me for it, I suppose it’s more like a hobby, a way of creative self expression, where I imagine that what I really have to say is finally being taken into consideration by people who read me (normally I’m being ignored when I try to be myself and no one ever understands my jokes). Writing from a cafe could be a way of making the moments with my blog even more special and also would give me the opportunity to photograph the cake I’m eating, I will think later on if that’s worth splashing out as it could be my two days food budget or even, possibly three. Also, another problem that I could encounter could be that the cafe will be too noisy for me to focus enough to write anything sensible (Polish cafes are usually much less busy) but I’ll definitely think about it again before Christmas.

My DBS (criminal record check needed for a job in care) is still not back. I’m wondering, what I will be posting about when I work as a live in carer. Posting about clients is not permitted of course and I’d never do that. I suppose, at a push I could disclose whether I work for a lady, a man or possibly a couple, but then that would make all the boundaries blurry for me so it will be better to stick to only disclosing which town I am based in, or even only a general area in case I’m sent to a village. I’ll see if I’m creative enough to come up with anything new to post at this time, as most interesting stuff from my past has already been discussed here. Oh wait, I forgot about one exciting thing: how I got sectioned in December 2019 (feels so strange to think that’s only two years ago) and dragged out of my flat in handcuffs by police (I always count that towards ‘been arrested’ on all of those Facebook games) while my deputy manager was a witness!

I will definitely come back to it one day, I promise, but for now I’ll just try not to eat another parsnip muffin.

%d bloggers like this: