A Good Day (Minus Neck Weakness)

After a good ‘restart day’ yesterday, I am back to feeling content. Today I went out for breakfast at ‘Morrisons’’ Cafe and enjoyed a baby chino and cooked English breakfast. Afterwards I went back into the car to wait until my family bought me my pizza of choice from the ‘make your own pizza’ section – an essential for me who doesn’t like cheese on pizza-

-What can I say I’m autistic.

As well as other goodies for this evenings. Being out of the house, living life in any capacity -especially getting a nice meal! – is beneficial like never before as it makes me realise that when I get better, I have a lot to look forward to.

Last night my OCD was bad with intrusive thoughts and insecure worries that ‘everyone hates me including my family’, but after getting a bit of reassurance from family and a nice Goodnight text message – I happily went to bed and have been undisturbed with self-esteem issues and fears since.

When I got home (after walking up the dreaded house steps) I had a rest on my chair and then proceeded to do my task for the day: printing off some photographs.

I did print them off. I did get my printer out of the cupboard and I did manage to achieve my goal. The problem is I am currently laying on my bed with my materials still on the carpet because my neck felt like it was so fragile it could snap off.

I know that if I wait awhile my neck will recover and I’ll be able to move again – at least move enough to clean away the floor – but there’s something undeniably discombobulating about seeing myself in the mirror unable to move without feeling as though I’m going to go headfirst into my bedside table.

I had to text my Mum and ask her to come and clean it up for me. Part of you wonders when you send such a text at 19 years old whether or not your parents think your at it. I wish I was at it so to speak. Then I could get out of it and carry on with my life. Gratefully my parents have been very understanding and helpful and I am lucky.

Overall today has been very positive. I enjoyed my trip out and am very excited to tuck into my pizza, Coka cola and jelly tots tonight. It is my ‘shower night’ (I shower every second day) tonight which does make me feel apprehensive and nervous. Having a shower has become a battle between me and my body. I usually end up nearly falling over and taking hours to get ready. Despite my neck issues and the nervousness for my shower I definitely count today as a positive.

There’s Something Wrong With My Leg

Dear Diary,

A few months ago I realised that my legs (especially the right leg) were weaker than usual. It was annoying at first but mostly dismissible. However it has been getting much worse and over the last few weeks I’ve gone from not being able to go on walks with my family to being completely unable to walk down the street or work.

It’s frustrating to say the least as all I want is answers to what is wrong. I look at people walking and now can’t believe the physics – “how are they doing that?” I think when seeing people walk up slight hills or stairs. Nothing in my body hurts nor are my reflexes poor but that makes it all the more perplexing.

I was supposed to have a schedule. Finish work and then clean my room, get my driving license and then start writing more often as well as doing more hobbies. I wanted to be more independent and more self-sufficient.

However having to pause multiple times whilst simply going up and down my home’s staircase; suffice to say, does not line up with that plan. My autism wants to be better and is angry that I can’t do things. My autism and OCD are only manageable when I am both well rested and healthy.

I have to be rested mentally and physically to function as a normal human being. I have to be healthy in order to function as a normal human being. Having unexplained symptoms that I’m going to have to wait at least five weeks to be diagnosed is not congruent of functioning as my best self.

Every single day is so hard. I’m trying to drown out the OCD fear, the autism-ness and the depression constantly whilst being asked to function as a normal human being and do simple basic shit like clean my sink. Having a health problem adding to that is even more hard.

After my appointment with the doctor today (who was lovely) I have to get a blood test in a few weeks time but he was unable to give me advice other than “take it easy, do what you can and then a little bit more and if that makes things worse, ease off and let us know if the problems get worse.”

I have a driving theory test to go to in early November but I think I may have to delay that as I have no idea how worse this is going to get until then. I don’t think I should be going to driving lessons either as my right leg is obviously the one that controls the clutch and it would put a lot of strain on it.

I’ve been worried about my appointment for days and I’ve barely brushed my hair. I’ve been “contaminated” (giving into my OCD by avoiding the things I like) all week, somehow thinking that after my appointment the cause of my leg weakness would be discovered and treated by some medication I need to take twice daily for a fortnight. I thought after today I’d get to go and shower and “restarting” and being “uncontaminated”.

However I’m currently sitting in my dressing gown feeling sensory overload over the skin and oils on my face and back – upset that I can’t go to the shops and buy myself a bag of chips.

Day Off Work!

Dear Diary,

I had today and yesterday off work and tomorrow off as well meaning that I’ve had a lot of spare time to get stressed, overthink, scare myself with horror movies and stressfully over-analyse every social interaction I’ve had all day – all of which is not good! Today however my Mum bought me a lovely Garnet ring from a lovely lady selling them from a stall and it made my day!

Having a few days off is essential to stop me or anyone else burning out of stress and over exhaustion, but it leads to other problems such as not being busy. Working leaves no time for OCD, overthinking and ruminating but working too often and frequently leads to burn outs and depression. It’s finding that balance that’s important.

Even now as I write this I’m feeling like throwing my phone across the room – not because I’m angry but because I’m overtired and don’t know if what I’m writing is me or some role I feel the need to play.

Anyway, me and my mother came across a stall and there were beautiful pieces of jewellery on display for great prices and my Mum asked if I wanted one! At first I couldn’t decide which one to go for but very quickly my ring caught my eye. The lady told me it was a garnet stone and I tried it on. She gave me a discount and it was so kind of her.

My ring is lovely and I’m going to wear it tomorrow to my sisters 16th birthday dinner! Thanks Mum. X

My new garnet ring!💍

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.