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.

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!

The Night Before Prom

Dear Diary,

I’ve said goodbye to many teachers who have supported me and whom I genuinely care about. My last day is tomorrow evening where I’ll go to prom, enjoy a meal and get my high school graduation certificate.

I’m nervous for tomorrow but also so excited. I have a beautiful dress, I’m getting my hair professionally done, I have beautiful accessories and makeup and I’m so excited!

I’m currently painting my toenails for the prom and I’m going to choose my jewellery – I’m definitely wearing my Elena vervain locket and my Elena ring as well as some of my Pandora charms.

I have a busy day tomorrow so I’m going to get some sleep. This may be the shortest blog post in the history of humanity but I want to record how I’m feeling.

Take care and wish me luck!

Medusa

The nail polish I’m wearing to prom tomorrow.
The beautiful bow my neighbour made that I’m wearing tomorrow!

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.

Miss Independent

Dear Diary,

It’s time to start being independent. It’s true, I’ve been over reliant on other people emotionally and in terms of looking after me.

During a phase of about 5 years I didn’t understand what having a family ‘meant’. It’s not that I didn’t have one, I’ve been lucky enough to always have a wonderful family but my brain failed to understand what that truly meant.

So after I realised ( with the help of TV funnily enough ) what it meant to be a family – I started over relying on it.

I’d spent so long not being able to emotionally interact with my family that when I finally learned, I went all in. I over rely on family members and people I admire to look after me. I try and do and belief things that exactly align with what they do and belief because I have a lack of self-identity.

It’s time to start taking care of myself. I’m an adult now and it’s time to take responsibility for the cleanliness of my room, my medication and other aspects of my life. It’s time to start being more independent.

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.

Recovering From A Low

Dear Diary,

After my epic birthday I crashed. Not as far as I sometimes go, but far enough to cause disturbance in my life. My OCD and insecurities have been terrible so much to the extent that I wouldn’t reply to an e-mail giving my photo and getting included in the school yearbook…yeah, I’m not doing great.

I’ve not been scrapbooking due to OCD. I bought a bunch of stupid-ass clothes from a shopping site – all of which I’ve returned – because I wanted to be as pretty as the models and I thought that it would make me for lack of a better word “good“. I’ve been struggiling to adapt to the whole gradual school return. I’ve not been keeping track of my planner or doing any real schoolwork. I’m just kind of there.

It’s hard to get out of this kind of low feeling becuase whilst there is so much that I should be working towards or getting excited for – I can’t help but only see lockdown in the future. The pandemic if anything, has made me very short-term.

If I’m being honest I don’t know how to stop feeling so sad. I have no goddamn clue what I should do to get my mind and life back on track. The only thing that I know is that tomorrow is a new day and I’m going to make an attempt for some positive change: Waking up earlier, practicing driving with my Mum, doing some french revision, writing some more of my english dissertation and, finally buying some clothes that I actually like.

Fingers crossed tomorrow will be better. Take care.

My 18th Birthday

Dear Diary,

Yesterday, or rather a few hours ago was my 18th birthday and I had an amazing time!

This is my second birthday in lockdown and yet it was incredible. I woke up feeling really excited and then I was wished happy birthday by my grandparents (socially distant of course) and I returned home where I found bunting saying 18 in the kitchen. My Mum and sister arrived from the shop shortly after I came home with a giant balloon.

After we all were together I started opening up my presents. My siblings, parents, cousins, aunts and uncles and grandparents got me the best stuff I could ever have asked for and I honestly loved every gift so much. It was so exciting and I felt very happy.

Later on I popped a bottle of champagne and drank some of that in my new 18th birthday glass I was given by my Mum. At dinner time my Dad made his famous homemade pizza and I got a whole one to myself!

As I blew the candles out of my cake; my siblings and I listened and sang along to iconic songs such as “Fireflies” by OwlCity, “How Bad Can I Be?” and “Let It Grow” from The Lorax soundtrack and “I gotta feeling” by The Black Eyed Peas.

After dinner we all sat down with popcorn and watched Zac Snyder’s Justice League on NowTV. Even though it was four hours long – I loved the movie and the whole experience was great.

So as my birthday draws to a close I realised three things: 1. Turning 18 didn’t mean that everything was changing – it meant I was getting presents! 2. My OCD was really good today (It was barely affecting me at all!) 3. I had the best time ever.

Thanks for reading!

🎉🥳🎊
My birthday balloon!🎈🎈🎈

First Day Back At School After Lockdown

Dear Diary,

Today I started back at high school. The morning resulted in me being very positive (with a minor dent in my positivity due to catching my appearance in my iPhone camera) and I saw my friend. Additionally I am exempt from wearing a mask – an exemption I ignored until it was stated that we would have to wear our masks in class and I didn’t want to do that, so I got my lanyard out. Things were looking up.

For the first couple hours I happily read in the canteen socially distant from everyone. After a while I had a good conversation with a teacher surrounding a book I was reading. Everything was fine until lunch came and for the first time in many months I was sat down in the freezing cold outside with my best friend eating lunch. Lunch is hard enough on its own with OCD; being cold is unpleasant for anyone; But maintaining a conversation in person that was acceptable, even with a friend, for the first time in months felt like a disaster.

My social skills are at a low. I see my best friend and I say how much I missed them, giving them the latest news and listening to my friend say the same. After that I start rambling about politics, controversial topics and other societal issues because I am incapable of being a seventeen year old girl who is not autistic for five seconds. It reminds me of the time as a child where a friend visited my house and all I wanted to do was plan a book with them despite the fact that we were ten. But I digress, I feel really upset and frustrated with myself.

I want to blame my autism on this. I want to say that the autism made me do it akin to how the devil allegedly corrupts innocent people making them do things they otherwise wouldn’t – but I can’t. I want to blame my autism but I feel like I must blame myself. What’s myself and what’s my autism? Maybe the problem is separating the two.

COVID-19 Vaccine And “Looking Disabled”

Dear Diary,

Today I got my first COVID-19 vaccine. A week or so ago I recieved a letter giving me an appointment for around lunchtime today, I was given the AstraZeneca vaccine and it didn’t hurt one bit. My problem however, was the way the woman who vaccinated me made me feel.

I had brought my identification and my letter and I showed up on-time and the person took one look at me and soon asked me what medications I was taking, unwilling to disclose my taking of anti-depressants I said none relevent. She then asked me some other questions getting sightly annyoyed with me despite the fact I’d done nothing, before straight-up asking me “Why are you getting the vaccine?”

It felt very petty and her whole attitude was very insulting. I was wearing joggers, a jumper and had greasy hair and combining that with my age she just asssuemed that the NHS had made a mistake or something.

Knowing that I had to answer her question for two reasons: 1.) She was going to stab me with a needle and 2.) I just wanted it over with.

So I say “I’m autistic” in the middle of the community centre to this woman who then replies that “She couldn’t see it. [Referring I hope, to the diagnosis on my electronic file on her iPad.”

My point is not that I had to say I was autistic, it’s that I was treated with reluctance becasue my disablility is invisable. I’d been properly signed in, I had been given a time-slot, a letter and yet I was still treated like it was me, who was doing something wrong.

So I’m not very happy about all that. Anyway stay safe.

MEDUSA.