I have a job… somehow

Hey…

Sorry about the absence… again. I really have no excuse this time, though I am working on a piece of art which I will put on here when I’m finished with it, which I hope will make up for it a bit.

However since I last blogged I:

  1. Survived Christmas
  2. Got my exam results (I passed)
  3. Got a job

The last one was the least expected out of the three. It was inspired by some pretty irresponsible uses of my student grant (which I will go no further into because I will die of embarrassment) and although I can still quite comfortably survive the semester I thought it best to apply for a job, or six. I had already been kind of looking for part time jobs, so I knew what was about, however I was (and still am to an extent) that I wouldn’t have enough spoons to be able to do Uni and have a job at the same time. But recent events *cough* I should not be allowed access to my student grant *cough* meant that I just decided to go for it. I applied to about three jobs, one of which wanted my CV and the thing is that my CV seems to hide every time I try to find it, so I had to very quickly write one using a CV generator (at least I have a starting point for one now). Anyway, one of the places got back very quickly and said that they wanted me to book a telephone interview online, but when I went online there was nothing there so I just left it. I told myself that would check back every day, but in reality I didn’t want that job. Especially after I went on Google images and it showed the workers there being robbed.

A few days later I got an email from one of the other companies (the one that I actually wanted to work for) telling me to phone and book an interview in February. For some reason I thought that it was still the start of January, but it wasn’t. It was the last week in January and the interviews were to be held this week. That meant I had to make a phone call (the horrors), but after a few days of putting it off I called and got an interview the next Thursday. Strangely, I wasn’t too nervous. I had expected to be chewing the carpet for days before hand and generally ruining my week with anxiety, but it didn’t happen (maybe I’m getting better at this type of thing). I went to the interview yesterday feeling alright but maybe a little under prepared (I wasn’t). It went well and after it finished the interviewer told me that I had got the job. Cue me singing all zip-a-dee-doo-dah the way back to my flat.

The job that I have is a stewarding job with completely flexible hours. I thought that would fit me better than one with fixed hours. Also I don’t think I could spend several hours in a shop without going a bit weird (the lights aren’t my friend). Hopefully I’ll have enough spoons to be able to keep this job, but if not I can always quit as I’m not yet about to starve even if I am living off ginger biscuits at the moment.

I hope you’ve all been well and as always feel free to ask any questions.

Diagnosis

Today I was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. While my first reaction is to be extremely relieved (I spent the car journey to the appointment imagining the worst possible outcomes) I don’t really know how to feel/react now. I am happy that the diagnosis finally happened after waiting about six months for it, but there’s also a feeling of ‘what now?’ My mum wants the family to go out for a meal to celebrate, which is nice but slightly weird. It’s a bit strange because one wouldn’t usually celebrate a diagnosis, however my parents have had me pestering them about it for half a year so they’re probably glad it’s finally over!

What happens now is I have to send stuff to my current school and my prospective university so they can sort support and accommodations, which I will need if I am going to survive more than a week living in a city. Thankfully, there is a really good student support team at my current school who are all amazing but the person who looks after sixth formers is going to be even more amazing. Even though she is on maternity leave she is still going to sort some of my uni stuff and I can’t thank her enough! If everything works out I should get there in September with a support system in place.

I think I was expecting something more substantial than just the verbal confirmation that I’m autistic (they are also going to send me a letter). I don’t know what I expected, but I don’t think the news will sink in until I get that letter. Maybe I thought I would get a badge! Actually that’s not a bad idea…

Anyway I have to get on with making a badge ‘revising’. Have a good week!

 

Timing problems

I have been intending to write this for ages, but other stuff seemed to crop up, however I digress. I think I have always had a problem with timings. Not usually my own, but other people’s. It used to be that if say I was at Music Centre (read orchestra) and it was meant to finish at 11:00 and it didn’t I would get extremely anxious. Even when I was that young I knew it was irrational but I couldn’t stop thinking that I would be trapped in that room forever, having to do the same thing over and over until I died. This was problematic as panicking every time something runs over, which is quite a lot, is very inconvenient. So what I started doing (unconsciously) was giving myself time frames. So if something is meant to end at 15:00 I will tell myself that it will be over by 16:30. That gives an hour and a half for it to run over into before I start panicking. I use this all the time now and it helps so much.

I also like to be at places at certain time. For example if I am starting a new thing like work experience I want to be there early, but not too early. This means getting there between two and four minutes before I am meant to be there. The same sort of thing happens with lessons. I don’t want to be the first there (and have to have an awkward conversation with a teacher) and I don’t want to be late. What this leads to is my wandering round school aimlessly at the end of lunch because I left the library too early and it’s too early to go to lesson.

Another problem with time that I have is that I need to know what time it is at any given point in the day. If I don’t know what time it is it produces the same effect as what used to happen when something ran over. I panic a bit. It is at its worse when in a boring lesson and I look up to check the time and there is no clock. I start thinking I will be trapped in the boring lesson forever! The easiest remedy for this would be to wear a watch, however I don’t find them particularly comfortable and the teacher may take offense if I am constantly checking my watch. Luckily, there’s usually someone else in the class with a watch which I can read from across the table.

When I am on camp with army cadets (mostly weekend camps, but there is an annual two week camp) I do wear a watch, mainly because we have to be at certain at certain times and there aren’t any clocks around. However a side effect of this is that I start counting down the hours until it ends (well until about three hours after it ends), even on the two week camps! At any point I will know how many hours until we will be either at home or on the bus home, but this isn’t because I dislike camps. No, I think it is a form of grounding myself, sort of making myself feel in control of a situation that I am not in control of.

So those are my timing issues, if you have any write them in the comments!

I am not a hypochondriac!

On a quite regular basis I mention physical complaints to my family, this is usually followed by a chorus of ‘hypochondriac!’ However I am not a hypochondriac, I’m just bored. For some reason when I’m bored I go-a-Googling to see what could be wrong with me. This is not hypochondria because non of it worries me and I never look at anything terminal or fatal. I suppose it’s just a way of trying to understand myself and collect more knowledge. It actually makes me happy to look for what could (but probably won’t be) wrong with me, so you could say it’s a kind of obsession. I will continue to do this as it doesn’t bother my family and it makes me happy even if people think I’m a hypochondriac.

Tomorrow Never Comes

From time to time I get into the mind-set during which there is no tomorrow. Obviously I know there is a tomorrow but it doesn’t affect me where it would usually cause a little to an extreme amount of anxiety depending on what was going to happen. This may seem like a positive state of mind but it isn’t. Deadlines now don’t exist. This proves quite problematic when in school as repercussions will follow once I get to tomorrow; also I don’t get to look forward to anything. I am literally living in the moment. It unfortunately comes along with an amount of emotional numbness, not always complete emotional numbness, but enough to be unpleasant.

I have a theory that it may be a form of shutdown or the ‘hangover’ from a meltdown but I’m not sure. It makes sense that my brain would switch off my ability to look into the future and dampen my emotions to stop me getting too overwhelmed or to aid in the recovery from a meltdown, but I am no psychologist.

On the plus side I can stay up extremely late and not feel worried about how tired I will be in the morning… until the morning that is.

Obsessed!

My long running obsession is my family tree. I’m not obsessed with it all the time but it flares up every few months. This would be fine but at the moment I am severely behind on my history coursework. This presents a problem as while I can work days on end on my family tree, I get distracted after about two minutes on my coursework (mainly by thinking about family tree stuff). So unfortunately I have had to ban myself from my family tree for the time being and hope that I get mildly obsessed with my coursework topic in the meantime.

Even worse

Well my brain has decided that I need to cry… a lot. Not really sure why though. I probably should have stayed in bed this morning but I seem to be unable to take a day off school unless I’m collapsing on the floor (which has happened once – awkward). So I’m alternating between contemplating the destruction of all 11 year olds and trying not to burst into tears in an inconvenient place. I am currently an unhappy flautist (and spell check just tried to change that <- to ‘flutist’, facepalm).

Pancakes are not as fun as they sound

So I had a meltdown last night which means I’m feeling rather sensitive today. I’m trying not to do anything to stress me out too much and for some reason pancakes seemed like a good idea as I’ve been craving them for weeks. I was wrong. 

I hadn’t made pancakes before so I had to look up the recipe. That went surprisingly well which in retrospect should have been a sign that something was bound to go a bit pear shaped. Then parents started trying to help. Both at the same time. My head felt like it was going to explode and I nearly started crying. But I didn’t and I did eat one pancake so… mission accomplished? Well victory was bitter sweet as I had lost my appetite by that point… Though I didn’t set fire to the kitchen so that’s a plus.

Why is social interaction is hard for me?

I do like people and interacting with people; that isn’t the problem. Unlike allistic (non-autistic) people I use energy when interacting with others. I still stress that I like interacting with people but eventually I run out of energy and have to stop.

I will use the analogy of tennis here. Say you really like playing tennis and your friends all like tennis as well. However they have a lot more stamina than you do, so you have to stop playing a long time before they do otherwise you’ll collapse from exhaustion.

Image

Ahh Djokovic you understand me

That’s how social interaction is for me; I have to limit the amount before I get exhausted or very stressed. It’s also worse with groups of people, I’ll stick with the tennis analogy to explain this. Playing tennis with one ball is easy and you could keep going for hours. Add another ball and it becomes trickier, but still manageable. Add another and you start to struggle.  Here the balls represent people, it’s quite difficult to keep track of multiple balls at once. For me, it’s difficult to keep track of multiple people/conversations at once. Each one requires analysis and effort and if there are too many I feel overwhelmed. There is fortunately a simple solution. Take breaks. Like you would if you were getting too tired playing a sport. Or I’ll end up collapsed on the court covered in tennis balls.