An Autistic Girls’ Second Day at Alton Towers: Fun, Heat and The Smiler

Dear Diary,

Last nights sleep was anything but easy as the room was sweltering despite the air conditioning being on full blast. Eventually I managed to get some shut-eye and awoke to find that my boss has put me on the 9-5 shift the day after next. (I’ve loved working but this morning I just wanted to quit to relax!)

I listened to music in the car using my AirPods and purchased the new iPhone 12 mini 64GB from Carphone Warehouse. After accidentally putting in the wrong email address I tried contacting them to fix the situation and got very annoyed. The number I called basically said go online for answers (which weren’t there) and then I got in contact with my first message link employee who I had a rough relationship with. Basically I had put the wrong first line of address in when she asked me to confirm and I got mad at her not realising the mistake was on me but when I realised my mistake and told her to change it she said “Can’t help you – call the number-“. I then found someone else who helped get everything arranged and I am awaiting the phone on the 21st this month; a phone that I used my first ever proper grownup pay cheque on.

The first ride I went on was of course The Smiler. I must be getting old because the main worry was if I would feel sick afterwards rather than the rollercoaster itself scaring me. It was really fun but I had to take a major time out afterwards due to intense nausea.

I went on The Oblivion again – this time with my sisters and went on Rita for the first time as well as returning to Spin Whizzer and The Blade one last time.

The weather was hot and I felt slightly uncomfortable due to it but wore enough sunscreen to prevent what happened before my prom where I had second degree burns. Now that, had been a disaster I was unwilling to repeat. I perhaps wore long sleeve tops in the fear of preventing that, rather than just be extra careful and wear a T-shirt. Whatever the reason I was hot and grumpy at times but I genuinely had a lovely time.

My Dad took us out for dinner where I ordered sirloin steak and peppercorn sauce and then bought us sweets and crisps. As soon as we all got back to the hotel I took a much needed shower and I am currently sitting in my pyjamas with one of my sisters, debating internally whether or not I should open my Wine Gums or not. I will I think, just not the crisps as the smell will make me unable to relax.

Overall so far this holiday has been incredible and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. My Dad especially has been wonderful as he has waited patiently on us all on each ride, buying us merchandise and food and ensuring that we all have a great time.

Tomorrow we are going to either York or New Castle and I’m so excited to have a more relaxed day with my Dad and sisters and maybe even stop off at a service system and get a KFC.

Until then, Bye.

Medusa

My Smiler pin badge.

An Autistic Girls’ First Day at Alton Towers: The Good, The Bad and The Queasy

Dear Diary,

Today I went to Alton Towers with some of my siblings and father. We left very early in the morning – especially since I’d just done a night shift at work – to head off to Staffordshire to enjoy our two day and night trip with both days at Alton Towers and the nights at a Premier Inn nearby.

I was struggling a bit to sleep in the car. I couldn’t seem to get comfortable and was becoming a bit distressed. Much like a toddler having a temper tantrum in frustration about not being able to get the new toy she wanted, I too was about to throw something out of the frustration of not being able to get comfy. In these moments of frustration I become almost like a toddler; I lack perspective and advanced deductive reasoning and want to scream. Eventually I managed an hour nap in a position that could not be described as advisable for road safety but I was strapped in and following the law.

When we arrived at Alton Towers today I was so excited. I almost ran round my family in excitement wanting to express how happy I was and how much I loved them all. This is perhaps not the average behaviour of a neurological eighteen year old but I was happy.

I went on The Blade first and loved it. My head felt wobbly in a good way as I went high in the air and back down again. I definitely want to go on it again tomorrow!

The next ride we went on was less good. I went on with my sisters and at first it was fine but as we were carried higher in the air we also began going round and round and round and I could feel my stomach lurching. I’d had about three hours sleep, not really eaten anything this morning (as I’m fussy about what I eat) and I have middle ear difficulties as I’ve wrote about before on this blog.

The culmination of these different challenges were a disaster on the next ride I went on, which was Spin Whizzer. I know what your thinking reader – why the hell did I go on a ride called spin whizzer when I was still terribly nauseous from the last ride? – and the answer is that I’d never been sick due to a rollercoaster before today and that I also wanted to do what my younger sisters were doing.

After sheepishly wandering off the Spin Whizzer like a drunk Scotsman after a few too many pints; I run behind a bucket (the bins were not the right shape for sticking your head in) as it was the only non public place to go, and hurled my guts up.

I felt better after this and even more so after I’d had my hotdog at lunch (though I nearly hurled it up on the picnic bench after finishing it) after consuming it with what can only be described as the resilience and strength of a naval officer.

Next we went on The Wicker Man which I thoroughly enjoyed despite the very long wait in line. My and my youngest sister are desperate to get some merchandise from the ride tomorrow.

As a good ‘family ride’ we all went on the Congo River Rapids and I bought the picture of us all in the boat for a whopping £10 since my Dad is far too grippy (and perhaps far too wise) to spend that amount of money on a printed out photograph.

I went on The Oblivion which I loved and The Nemesis which I’m glad I’ve gone and bought the t-shirt but never wish to go back for leggings. After a substantial time away from Spin Whizzer I gave it another go with one of my sisters and this time I neither puked nor lived in fear of doing so – although I must admit a slight uneasiness in my stomach stopped me from going on it immediately after again with my sister.

After a quick snack of strawberries, marshmallows and melted chocolate, my family and I made our way to the Premier Inn hotel we are currently staying at. We visited Burger King for dinner (which I’m half-convinced is going to give me food poisoning symptoms in the next half hour) and Spar for snacks such as the Monster Munch I ate whilst writing this post. I of course am yet to get into my pyjamas as I hate having the smell of anything on my pyjamas and as we all know snacks tend to leave crumbs but I shall soon wash my face, brush my teeth and get changed – maybe after some Wine Gums and YouTube videos. I’m next to one of my sisters and currently our whole squad is on their devices with various snacks resting our legs and feet after an adventurous day at Alton Towers.

The castle and the bench area where you can watch the live performances.
Entrance Area of Alton Towers.

My First Pay Cheque/My First Three Weeks of My First Job

Dear Diary,

I’ve been keeping a small diary of my days as a waitress in paper from my first day as to not forget anything. Perhaps I will one day publish them anonymously but for now it is a nice ritual I do as soon as I get home from work.

I can’t really believe that I have a job. I can’t believe that I’ve left high school or that my life has completely changed. I reckon that getting a job has insured me that I’ve kept my routine and the long hours have enabled little time for rumination. There are draw-backs to this of course. I may be thriving…or, I may be a bottle of coke being shaken and will eventually erupt. Only time will tell which is one thing that sucks about being autistic – I never know how I’m feeling until it’s too late.

But I’ve enjoyed working as a waitress. It’s been really tough don’t get me wrong and my feet are in constant pain from blisters but I’ve enjoyed working so much. No-one aside from my boss knows that I’m autistic so far and that’s the way I’m going to keep it (unless it is necessary for me to reveal that information) secret from my colleagues. I would hate to be treated differently by my colleagues who don’t understand what autism is as they don’t know me well enough to be able to see who I am beside the diagnosis.

I’ve made some money and it feels really good. Having the ability to buy myself a new phone in the next few weeks is an amazing thing. I’m extremely grateful for my parents for giving me lifts to work at early morning shifts and lifts back at late hours and I appreciate it more than I feel I am able to successfully communicate.

Something that I’ve loved about my job (aside from meeting some really cool colleagues) is meeting some incredible and kind customers. I’ve had talks with people who have left an imprint on me with their kindness and their respect. I’ve recognised people like me and spoken to them and their parents and felt a lovely sense of community with people like me. I have never seen my autism as anything positive but my ability to recognise a little boy like me and treat him with respect and fun meant so much to his parents they told me and meant so much to me.

So yes. I’m now consistantly tired; Occasionally bored; Frequently excited due to interesting events at work; Sometimes insecure about forming friendships at work but mostly relaxed around a great bunch of people; Endlessly in pain over my feet but ultimately damn happy. Things are really, really, really, good right now.

First Day At Work

Dear Diary,

I started my first job today and I had a great time! It was weird being a grown up when I’m so used to being the pupil in school but I loved every minute of work today and I can’t wait for tomorrow where I’ll be covering the night shift.

When I got home I was quite tired and I felt very sensitive. When I told my parents a joke that didn’t land and they thought I was being serious – I felt really hurt. I started thinking that they hated me and thought that I was bad. This is a sign that I’m tired and my OCD are causing my brain to malfunction.

I won’t let my own insecurities ruin an all round great day so I’m going to go to bed in a minute and get a good nights sleep!

University Decision: Post-Making My Choice

Dear Diary,

I’ve chosen a course that in part surprised me. I know that I can excel at it and I am genuinely excited to get started!

Of course there are the wriggling doubts, the fears, the nagging voice in the back of my head whispering that I’ve made a huge mistake – which sucks but is also normal. I got into a fantastic course that may not have been my ‘dream course’ but is something that I love and can’t wait to begin.

So yes with the celebration comes slight mourning – mourning for a S1 girl’s dream and mourning for the countless other opportunities that every choice we make in life limits you to.

But despite some sadness and anxiety; I feel relieved. I have a clear view of what I’ve got to do and how I’m going to do it and that feels really good.

I am very happy and I think that this course will not only be badass, exciting and that guarantees a career; but will also make me happy in life.

Only time will tell but today is a good day and it requires a celebration – one preferably when I’m neither sunburnt or exhausted from adrenaline. One thing is for sure; I can’t wait to get started!

Take Care.

Medusa.

University Decision: Pre-Making the choice

Dear Diary,

The time is here – well a mere matter of hours away – for me to decide where I want to go to university and what course I want to take.

There are a few things for me to consider in the next short while. There are things to consider about both my capabilities my dreams and what the hell I want to do with the rest of my life.

I’m an insecure eighteen year old with autism and mental health problems; trapped in the mindspace of a primary one girl, who longs to be accepted and liked by the other kids in the playground. A girl who can’t understand why people don’t like her. I’m someone who lacks confiction in her decisions without letting on to the fact. I’m someone who still struggles to understand how she could possibly be autistic one day and on another day can’t touch her belongings because her OCD is too bad.

This is why I’m scared. I’m scared that I’m going to end up miserable in two ways:

Reason 1: I’m scared that by picking one choice I will be passing up on an opportunity I have always wanted and may never get again. I’m terrified that I am choosing based on fear of the unknown. That I’m using any excuse to not take a leap of faith and do something I’ve wanted to do since I was little. I’m afraid that I’ll end up filled with regret and anger at myself.

Reason 2: I’m scared that if I pick something and take a leap of faith it won’t work and I’ll be disheartened, sad and crushed. I’m scared that I’ll not be able to manage the course either by being not good enough at the course or by having a mental breakdown, or by both. I’m scared that I’ll miss an opportunity to discover what I want to do by rushing into an idea that could make or break me. I could take my time and see, try something and then if I can do it – move on to my dream course (if it remains that).

I’m so scared of regret, I have enough of it from my years of letting my OCD control my life and I don’t want to add to it. But whatever I do regret is always a risk.

I need to spend the next few hours thinking. Will post after I make my choice.

Medusa.

Knowing My Limits.

Dear Diary,

I’ve come to the realisation that I’m not doing great at a subject I’ve been sudying for a year. I don’t want to quit it as I may aswell carry on to potentially recieve a pass but I’m not feeling great about it.

I keep thinking ‘I should have studied more’, ‘I should have done this – I was capable of doing this’ and ‘I’ve let myself down’. However in all these angry self-hating thoughts never have I allowed myself to think of the reasons why I’ve struggled.

The lockdowns, the not being able to do my routines, not being able to go to my appointments in person, feeling really unhappy and dealing with my OCD. All these factors and more have all added to my stress and inability to focus.

Despite knowing this, despite logically acknowledging that these things are true – I don’t believe it. I just feel bad. My brain hurts and I feel bad. I could be doing more but I’m going to go to bed.

Medusa.

Sleep, Mental Health And ASMR

Dear Diary,

Between school, stress, mental health issues and general life – sleep has been a bit of a struggle and I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been struggiling with it.

After weeks of going to bed late and waking up annoyed in the middle of the night needing to pee – I realised I needed to make some big changes to my life.

A while back I’d heard of a new phenomenon called ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) which had been featuring in my YouTube recommended for many a month. Eventually on a tired night I clicked on one and the result of doing so was amazing.

ASMR videos feature the ASMR “artists” doing various diferent “triggers” to create a relaxing tingle that begins at your scalp. The “triggers” include whispers, tapping, crinkling, typing and roleplay; spa, salon, getting your hair cut, sleep clinic and more!

At first that “tingle” sensation was not there for me and I was confused about what all the fuss was about, that was until I found certain YouTube ASMR artists who do “triggers” that are very relaxing and nice. Having to listen to a few different artists in a few different videos to find your ‘thing’ is not unusual and you may end up loving it.

I (try to) listen to ASMR when I’m in my pijamas, have brushed my teeth and whilst sitting on a comfortable chair in my room. I put on some headphones and lie back and de-stress.

More than just being relaxing – I find that sleep comes much easier after I’ve de-stressed using ASMR. I just feel generally more chilled and sleepy. If you have autism or mental health problems like me, or you are just struggling to sleep – ASMR is definitely worth trying out!

A list of some of three of my favourite YouTube ASMR artists are as following:

WhispersRed ASMR – Emma joined YouTube in 2013 and has had nearly 300,000,000 views on her channel in total. She is from London and has a very calming and motherly vibe in her videos and comes across as a really warm person. She does lots of sound therepy and ASMR relaxation.

Gibi ASMR – Gibi joined YouTube in 2016 and has over 1 billion views in total for her ASMR videos. Gibi makes lots of unique ASMR videos and comes across as a kind person that you’d love to be BFF’s with!

Batala’s ASMR – Batala has nearly 100 million YouTube views in total for her ASMR videos and joined in 2017. Her channel is very good for whispers and is my all-time favourite whisper ASMR channel.

Thanks for reading and I recommend checking out the ASMR channels above. Stay safe.

Medusa.

Difficult Thoughts

Dear Diary,

Trigger Warning: If you are experiencing dark thoughts please don’t read further.

To give some context; I have an implant placed in my arm to stop my period, which worked up until a few months ago. I’m now going through my monthly cycle once more and all the hormones and emotions of this. (I will be seeing a medical professional soon to fix the implant or to go on the mini-pill.)

Note: I know my family reading this are going to be sad by all this – I personally don’t know why but I’m autistic and sometimes lack emotional understanding – but I don’t want to upset them. But I think it’s important to document the bad things and not just the good.

About a half hour ago; I got really upset. I was feeling insecure and then suddenly I wanted to cease to exist. I jumped to “I want to die” rather quickly in my tired brain and this was not pleasant.

And then the moment passed and I’m sort of okay again. These thoughts occur to me I’m moments of extreme anxiety or sadness. To clarify I never actually harm myself in ANY way before, during or after these thoughts occur.

The problem is that if I’m overtired; extremely stressed; upset or depressed – thoughts like I wish to be dead are inevitably more frequent.

I’m currently on my period and I’m very emotional and hormonal which added onto my exam anxiety and general depression – equals a very mentally vulnerable me.

But these semi-suicidal feelings are always at a moment of frustration and anxiety. And they never have a plan. I hate pain and I don’t really want to die – I just don’t want to live anymore.

It’s weird that I think like this but I’m concerned that I’m going to die of this in the future. It won’t be anytime soon, but maybe in about thirty years – I’m not going to have the energy to fight it anymore – not because I’m ‘old’ but because it’s a long time to deal with OCD and depression.

That being said I’m by no way encouraging other people to have this mindset. This blog post is about things I need to work through and deal with; not things for others to emulate.

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts please contact The Samaritans : 116 123 free of charge from any landline or mobile.

Note: As I’m editing this I came across an article that basically summed up how I’ve been feeling in a much more clear way. If you have similar feelings to me please go look at this by Hattie Gladwell. https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/suicidal-but-afraid-to-die

To Make A Choice To Try

Dear Diary,

I had a choice today; a simple choice that could make a huge difference in my life.

I’ve been feeling like I don’t want to be here anymore for a few weeks now (not suicidal – just a wish to not exist). A feeling that if there was a magic button and I had a choice to remove myself from existence, I’d press it.

The world has felt bad and I’ve been feeling miserable. My OCD is bad, my self-esteem is bad and my anxiety is through the roof and whenever this happens a simple question goes through my mind “Things are always going to end up like this so what’s the bloody point?”.

I suppose it’s normal to be negative whilst being depressed but it still sucks. Knowing that I’m going to have to deal with my autism related OCD and anxiety for the rest of my life is horrible to think about and it hurts to think about.

Whilst being in this vortex of misery other aspects of your life gets sucked in too – aspects such as your schoolwork, your appearance and the tidiness of your room. As seemingly inconsequential as these three things seem, they all add up and lead to a very depressing situation.

So after all that; my choice came today. My exams are starting in the next week – exams I’m woefully underprepared for – and the thought of doing any studying felt impossible. It was physically and mentally straining to pull out my textbooks and open my laptop. I confess I nearly quit twice and I nearly threw my laptop in frustration.

But I chose to keep studying; and I ended up doing some good revision. Despite every part of me wanting to curl up in my bed and want to die – I chose to do something productive and it has made me feel better. Schoolwork feels that little bit less worrisome and I feel more in control of my life.

I’m still not feeling 100% – or even 50% but it’s a start and after today I want to keep trying.