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.

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.

I don’t Know How to Act

I doubt I’ve ever been sure how to act in conversation. I take on the role of who I think I should be in different circumstances. It never really works of course, there are only so many mannerisms you can copy from people in your life before your real opinions and thoughts are revealed.

Since my diagnosis I’ve noticed that I’m acting the way I think an autistic person should act. Try that for irony? I’m even being autistic about being autistic. These days in a difficult conversation I avoid eye contact, not because I hate it or feel uncomfortable looking people in the eye, but because I feel like people understand that I am uncomfortable. I play with my sleeve and avoid eye contact because when I do this adults who know about my diagnosis (which is most people) understand how I’m feeling. I take on the persona or role of having autism despite the fact that I actually have it. I know that many autistic people dislike making eye contact so I’ve adopted that in taking upon my role.

It makes me feel guilty, like I’m stealing from people but I can’t help it. It’s both subconsious and consious, I didn’t know I was doing it at first but then I noticed it worked. People could understand the obvious signs of distress especially how I usually make good eye contact and would understand that I was feeling stressed or upset.

I’m not good at figuring out what is the right thing to say, do or think. I struggle to understand people’s feelings sometimes and this makes me sad. I get angry with myself for not being able to decipher the correct things to say, do, act or think.

So what can I do? The truth is I’m not sure but right now I’m going to watch some YouTube and distract myself from being angry with myself.

Medusa

The Effect That COVID-19 Has Had On My Therapy/Recovery

Dear Diary,

It’s one o’clock in the morning as I am writing this draft and only one thing is on my mind: I wish I could speak to my psychologist.

I’ve done two or three zoom calls months and months ago which went well, however the real thing is no doubt better for a number of reasons. The first of them being that it’s awkward with internet connection; especially for someone like me whose house is notorious for having dreadful WiFi and secondly, because I would not be comfortable talking about intrusive thoughts over the video call – it would feel weird for me.

My psychologist who I have not seen in at least five months by my own reluctance to zoom- and my previous improvement in dealing with my OCD which also meant less need for appointments- is a child phycologist and guess what? Soon I will no longer be a child.

I was supposed to have more time with my psychologist over the last year. A pandemic was not supposed to happen and intervene in my improvements. I wasn’t supposed to have to grow up without being able to visit my therapist because of a virus. I suppose a lot of people will be feeling like this and I know that I am very lucky in the grand scheme of things – a lot of people have had to cope with a lot worse this past year.

I wish I could make it all go away. I’m feeling exhausted by lack of sleep, guilt, worry and regret. I wish I could give being normal – whatever the hell that means – a go for a day and spot the difference. I wish that I could’ve worked out some of my problems with my psychologist and psychiatrist (who are wonderful doctors and people by the way) during the past year in a world where the pandemic never happened. If wishes were horses.

But I can’t change what has happened. I can only sit here, in my pitch black room after resisting the urge to give in to my OCD. My skin spotty and hair slightly greasy due to the poor dietary choices I’ve been making lately. I can watch the shadows form around the light of my iPhone screen, my Alexa playing the soft sound Distant Thunderstorm in the background and hope that somehow, tomorrow will be better.

My Dog Died Today

My Dad told me this morning that my dog Oscar had died a few hours ago. I got up and rushed downstairs to see my dog in blankets. I touched his fur. We will bury him tomorrow and his body is currently wrapped in blankets in our Summer House.

Regret is the one thing I feel right now; that and guilt.

Five years ago my OCD told me that Oscar was contaminated and so from then on I treated Oscar like he was a monster. I refused to touch, walk or even be near him despite doing so for years. Even in my OCD Rehabilitation I still refused to be near him – refused to be near all my dogs.

Last night when he was sick I kept poking a spot above my eyebrow and it got infected. I put a plaster on it last night and when I took it off this morning it took of a third of my right eyebrow. So now I have an infected spot area and only two thirds of an eyebrow. Things are not going great.

Now I’m in my room with puffy eyes and a deep pit in my stomach. I thought there would be more time to get over my weird dog OCD fears – I thought there would be more time to make an attempt at getting over my OCD dog problems. But there isn’t. He is dead and all I can think about are the walks I refused to take him on, the pats I refused to give him for the last five or so years and my avoidance of him. I am so consumed with contamination that past memories of him prior to him becoming contaminated are almost non-existent.

I feel like I have a hole in my stomach and all I want to do is scream and cry.

Oscar

OCD Turning Night Into Day

Dear Diary,

A favourite saying of my mother’s is “you’re turning night into day” and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing lately. At night I’ve been having irrational OCD worries that I’ll pee myself and so I have been unable to sleep at night. Then I’ve been sleeping in until lunch or napping for hours on end.

The problem is that my OCD is for lack of a better word – confused. I’m not quite down the rabbit hole of OCD mayhem but I’m also by no means doing well. For the last three or four days I’ve been deliberately wearing dirty clothes and have been taking no effort into my appearance. And when I say no effort I mean barely brushing my hair etc. It doesn’t make me feel happy to not at least look and feel presentable.

My OCD is ‘confused’ right now because I’m avoiding things like my OCD wants but I’m also not making an effort to rectify when I accidentally don’t avoid something. I feel in limbo unsure of wether my next actions will feed into my OCD or fight it.

So what am I going to do? I’m going to get through today and I’m going to enjoy my dinner which will be roast chicken breasts, rice and vegetables. Then I’m going to do my best to distract myself. My not-so-rational logic is that tonight I’m going to somehow have an epiphany and get back on track so let’s just see how that goes.

2021 Exams Are Cancelled And I’m Scared

The exams for the second year in a row have been cancelled and I’m not sure how I’m feeling. On one hand I’m glad that we now know (kind of) what is going on. On the other, I’m scared about all the complex marking systems, I’m scared about the fact that the senior year students will likely have a shorter year since their are no final exams and most of all I am scared about leaving school, my friends and my routine.

This years exam results are crucial to either getting into or being rejected to university. The last year of high school means there are no do-overs next year for I will not be there anymore. This puts the pressure on regardless and the added distrust towards the Scottish Qualifications Authority since the disaster last year does not help.

I’ve been in school for the majority of my life – I’m used to school. I may not like it all the time, I may find it hard and I may find it impossible but I feel like I need it. The cancellations of the exams means that I’m going to have to deal with leaving the security of school. School is not a choice. It is mandatory and requires no life-changing decisions to be made. When I leave school I’ll have to make choices, make decisions and grow up and the exams being cancelled is the somewhat convoluted path my brain is taking to convince myself that I’m going to be facing my ‘school’ extensional crisis sooner.

I have a few good friends in school. I have every confidence that my best friend and I will keep in contact and that is brilliant but some of my other good friends and I will inevitably drift apart. It’s hard for someone like me who struggled her whole life to make friends, finally does and then realises that she will lose them to time and distance.

That’s life of course, people move on, they drift apart, a quote from a children’s book I used to like “real friends let each other grow up” rings true here. I thought I’d be in school forever as it often felt like it – but the truth is that it’s coming to an end. I’m going to have to accept that I’ll have to grow up, the announcement of the exams being cancelled further fuels my “growing up” anxiety and the only thing I can do is accept this.

For now though, I’m going to allow myself be sad for a little while.

Representation Or An Insult?: “Music” Film Trailer By Sia

Ugh. Never have I ever seen a celebrity try and show how great they are and how progressive th- actually that’s all celebrities seem to do these days. Fair play to them, if I was rich I probably wouldn’t give a shit either.

I know a lot of people are upset about how the person playing the titular character is not Autistic. Personally that’s not my problem with it. My problem with this trailer is that, the girl portraying her is Maddie Ziegler who is a young reality star with very little acting experience playing a young girl with a disability because in the trailer at least, she portrays her like some drunk with two cans of Stella that makes an ‘autistic’ impression in poor taste that is ultimately amusing but not to be shared with the world.

Unfortunately a lot of people are jumping on the “don’t be an SJW” bandwagon saying that “everyone is too sensitive nowadays” but for myself who detests cancel culture and still honestly believes that Sia has every right to make these films regardless of how shitty they seem, sucks. The problem for me is not that Maddie Ziegler is not autistic, the problem for me is that a non-professional actor is portraying a severely autistic girl.

I honestly would have felt better if this was an edgy joke film played by people mimicking stereotypical autistic traits. Comedy and humour can be both hilarious and used in a good way to spread awareness about autism stereotypes etc. But this film is supposed to be a serious piece of art that is to be hailed as stunning and brave.

The difference between Freddie Highmore and Dakota Fanning’s portrayals of autistic people in film and TV compared to Maddie Ziegler in this trailer is that a) Maddie Ziegler is not an actress. The others have acting experience and manage to portray realistic and therefore inoffensive characters. From the trailer the character “Music” is acted by Ziegler the way I would expect someone would behave to mock a person with autism. I have no problem with Ziegler ultimately she is just a young girl working with her godmother but she is not autistic or an actress.

Of course autism is a spectrum and some have more needs than others but the way that “Music” is portrayed at least from the trailer is just angering. It’s almost like she’s channeling Simple Jack from Tropic Thunder. Actually that’s exactly what it kind of looks like.

Her responses to the criticism begs two questions. One: I get being defensive but Jesus Christ Sia, harsh! And Two: Who the hell is her PR person and why the hell are they not stopping her from tweeting?

Now I’m not saying that Maddie Ziegler or Sia are intentionally doing this, I don’t think that. However I do think Maddie Ziegler and Sia do not have the acting/directorial ability to portray a semi-decent example of an autistic person.

This also may be petty of me to say – but this is my blog so I can be as goddamn petty as I want without detracting from my original valid arguments. For me personally there is something very sad about a girl roughly my age who is seen wearing makeup, pretty, surrounded by people who she can communicate to without fear of rejection and someone who is able to stop acting autistic when the camera stops that hurts me. The difference to this compared to the other non-autistic actors is just that, they are professional actors. My saying of this however is purely personal and is of no value to this argument or the honest to God points I’ve made.

Well I’ve said my piece. I still like Sia’s songs and ultimately like the singer but she is being very childish in her response to criticisms on Twitter and in her attempt at “raising awareness”, she has so far only made me cringe.

No-one will believe this but I’m going to say it anyway because it is true. I honestly hope that this trailer is just bad and that the movie is good. And hey, I could be completely wrong and the film is tasteful and fun. But if it’s not then I will have so many self-deprecating jokes to make about myself that will be a blast anyway. So either way I win.

I’ll give it a go but so far I’m far from feeling optimistic.😂

Doing Slightly Better…I Think: OCD Rehabilitation Day 3

I made some okay progress today all things considered. School is back tomorrow and I’m still feeling not 100%. My nausea is still coming and going a sure sign of my anxiety levels rising but I’ve not been sick as of yet and taking that as a good sign.

I managed to wear some jewellery today and eat crisps whilst on my phone which is something I used to be unable to do. I’m still a bit iffy around some things but I put foods I’d consider “contaminated” into the shopping bags whilst helping my Mum pack the bags at our local Morrison’s and I am currently wearing a dressing gown that came into contact with a dog treat box (another thing that my OCD considers as “contaminated”.

So whilst I’ve not been brilliant – I certainly have not been bad by any means. Little victories like today will help me get through tomorrow when I have to go back to the daily stresses of high school, socialising and homework and when I’m tired and not firing on all four cylinders. Well, we’ll see what happens tomorrow won’t we?