Category Archives: ASD

Dear Chronic Illness/ Pain/Conditions Sufferer…

A Message For Anyone Who Is Suffering With Chronic Illness/Pain/Conditions… Especially Those Facing This (whether literally or emotionally) Alone…

I’m so sorry you’re having to endure this — it’s difficult enough to deal with one condition, let alone several and at a severe and heightened state too 😦

The first thing I really do want to say here is: **You Are So Brave**. Truly. What you are facing is truly horrendous and scary (Chronic Illness/Pain/Conditions are utterly terrifying, and people do NOT EVER take it seriously enough! 😡*big scowl*🤬), and yet, still, you face it. You endure it. You keep fighting. You are still alive and you haven’t given up. That is ALWAYS admirable and commendable. Even though you feel utterly awful and exhausted and frightened, it’s still true. So, please try to remember that… 💜

I think I may have some understanding of the awful situation you’re having to deal with — I have had  Chronic Pain and Illness and Conditions, all at a very severe level for prolonged lengths of time, including many asthma attacks requiring emergency hospital treatment (I’m now strangely very comfortable and familiar with the back of an ambulance… 😒🤨), and I’ve suffered more than my share of PTSD with many things that have unfortunately happened to me, and have even attempted the worst at times… And I am well aware of what *I* felt and suffered in those times, and I truly never want to think about what I had to go through with the episodes of psychosis I have suffered on many a pill I’ve been told to take, it was so very horrendous. To be on them continuously, without being able to come off them, must be harrowing. To anyone who cannot come off them, *You* must be very, very much suffering with this… 🥺😟

As an Autistic person (Asperger’s), this also made all these experiences worse [for me] because the way I deal with every small thing in life is that it has to be controlled for me to understand it, and without understanding this (my illnesses/conditions/pain) it made it all the worse… So, I’d like to think I’m coming from a place where you might feel I do have a little understanding of being where you are.

Whatever you are going through, it’s going to feel like such a lonely, awful, frightening place to live — so near yet *so* far from what you truly need. You have, quite possibly, been through such utterly terrifying and traumatic experiences whilst dealing with your journey. I lived in London with all kinds of available people in several hospitals around me — and yet I STILL could not get the treatment I needed for the (many, many!) things that have and are wrong with me, so to not have ANYONE around in the medical practices around you, that is the most scary, almost more than than anything. It doesn’t matter whether or not it’s available, when you’re not being given it, you’re having to watch your life disintegrate around your ears, and not being able to do a thing — not a goddamned thing — to help yourself, because no one told you how. I did ALL the wrong things with mine… If there was a checklist of all the thing that were bad for my condition, I did them all, because I thought I was helping myself. Turns out, they all were the worst things I could have done. Unfortunately, I found out too late. Far too late.

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I have Fibromyalgia and Hemiplegic Migraine, which have somehow amalgamated into some weird-ass crap that doens’t even have a name… something doctors can’t seem to understand or treat, that comes with horrific pain that can only be barely dulled with fairly high doses of Oramorph and Tramadol. My PTSD (now) comes from hospitalisation for a severe blood and bowel infection, and the utter shock and grief of having lost my hard-won “normal” life in London and my pretty amazing IT Career in one fell swoop from this “Fibromyalgia hybrid” (or “Fibroplegia” as I’ve come to call it) that I’ve ended up with (which has also made me almost completely numb and partially paralysed from the chest down), and the fact it took over 2 years to get an initial diagnoses and then a full 5 years to get any treatment at all for it — and by then it was too late, the damage was done and I was wheelchair dependent with no ability to use my legs.

The same thing happened as a child suffering from… something. They called it “Depression” and left it at that, filling me (as a child of 12 and then for many years later) with Prozac and whatever other medication they felt like. Precisely 20 years later, I finally get the diagnosis that really explained it all — “Autism/Asperger Syndrome”. Despite being under them mental health system in so many different ways for most of my life, they ALL somehow missed this, and my miserable life kept getting worse and worse, causing a lot of VERY bad things to happen to me, and I ended up with severe PTSD and suicidal and anorexic/bulimic because of it for over a decade. Unbelievably amazing….

Both times, *despite* bring in the middle of access to treatment, they still refused to give me any. Until now. In that sense, I absolutely do understand how it is to ask and ask for help and nobody listens or understands the severity of your health condition(s). I certainly may as well have had nobody there…

The harrowing [emotional] pain, the physical pain, the anguish, the despair, the panic, the desolation, the desperation, feeling like absolutely NOBODY understands, the loneliness, the isolation (whether or not there are people around you), and also, finally, that hollow and numb-feeling of depression that eats away your insides that causes even more anxiety and panic, making the PTSD flare and get even worse.

It spirals out of control and it’s all just like trying to outrun an avalanche … no matter how hard you try, you’re going to get buried and suffocated with it.

*

I’ve written a lot, and I’m sorry about that… However, like I said above, it’s hard when it seems like nobody understands, so I thought perhaps that I could prove that I probably really do…?

I hope that I have. Because all those feelings that were described is pretty much part and parcel of all chronic illness, and most feel them — but, of course, we’re not allowed to talk about them outwardly, so there’s nowhere to turn and nowhere to go to discuss it, those feelings, or how very VERY white-hot terrified and desperate you really feel inside.

Keep talking, keep reaching out — to doctors, to people here, online, to any people in your life who could/might/do support you. It’s not anywhere near easy to even begin to cope with the first part of dealing with lifelong Chronic Illness/Pain/Conditions.

The first step is a little like AA — you have to accept they are part of your life but you will love yourself anyway. Remember that you’re a person WITH a conditions/illness, and NOT an illness with a body/host.

Remember that you’re worthy, you matter, you’re a person, and YOU ARE YOU — and having an illness/condition doesn’t stop that from being true.

The next is to put into your mind to not being a “Victim” of any kind to your condition/illness — not having access to treatment or a clinician/GP is going to make you possibly also feel like a victim of circumstance, of the Post Code Lottery; but it still doesn’t mean you have to FEEL like one… It sounds so trite, I really do know. But you *should / hopefully might, eventually* feel entitled and rightful indignation that no one is helping you, that no one is taking you as a person that matters and deserves to have their space and be heard, and helped.

I don’t believe anyone should go through these things alone. It’s not right, and everyone has a right to be heard and helped, in whatever way possible. I hope you feel I have heard you?

Keep being strong, keep having courage, and keep up the [terrifying, seemingly impossible] good fight xx xx xx.

💖💖💖💜💜💜

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Anxiety & Chaos — The Antithesis of the Aspie Mind…

Anxiety and Chaos rules my mind. It feels like it’s been long buried under mountains of agonising pain, sorrow, grief. Fibro-Fog, medication, and more and more Chaos and Anxiety. I can feel my mind still there, calling, struggling to be freed, to be heard… yet, there seems to be so little I can do about digging it back out.

As long and all this overwhelming Anxiety and Chaos rules me, rules my life, is forced upon me – truly, it seems that no matter what I do to prepare against it, it floods and breaks through my defences and laying siege until I can do nothing more against it. – it will Rule me. It overwhelms me. Then, it eventually takes over me. My life. And now, it just simply continues to do so… because I have only so many spoons at all, and that number is barely above Zero, and none of those spoons are even remotely strong enough to fight against the sheer mountain of things that continue to suffocate me every minute of Every. Single. Day.

With no Short Term Memory to speak of, and pretty much no Long Term Memory to fall back on (although, thankfully, the odd one can be brought out with certain triggers, unfortunately few and far between), it’s like I am nothing and no one.

As an Aspie, who once remembered everything and anything just about, this fact is near killing me inside. I still don’t know what to do with it – the grief and frustration of going through this, being forced to live without something embedded into me, that was an intricate part of me… Quite often, it is all too overwhelming. Even the inability to control my environment was entirely reliant on this… and without it, Anxiety and Chaos reign entirely. It is painful and frightening, and there seems to be nothing I can do about it – and I feel this because I have gone through everything I can think of over these past Five Years this has been happening to me…

I physically cannot move – my condition leaves me with only the shoulders and arms and what is above it; pretty much nothing else is movable by my own conscious will. I must remain on the floor whilst upstairs because my chair (or any chair) cannot fit up here; the house is too old and the landing is far too narrow to accommodate one. This means that I remain next to useless up here – unable to move or control my own environment in my bedroom. Despite assistance, there is no way to keep it sane without someone perfectly able-bodied to take things out and put them away as required. Whilst I may be able to retrieve something, putting it back may cost too much spoons, or be too difficult – or worse, I might forget.

I have been numbed by the sheer and exhaustive amount of confusing and destructive emotions that keep washing over and drowning me. I do not like emotions – actually, I loathe them, and wish they did not exist. And, quite frankly, there are definitely far to many of them. It’s a cornucopia of horror that I flail at, until I fall victim to my terror and end up falling and drowning beneath them all. “NT” people have called this dead numbness “depression” – but I’ve studied psychology for years, and what I have has never quite been fully described by that theory, and it does not fully cover what it is that I experience.

I am TMI (Too Much [Sensory] Information) when it comes to all these emotions – and all are fuelled by my two arch enemies: Anxiety and Chaos. I literally cannot live like this – I barely even exist like this. To live, to participate in… well, something, anything… to do what I love again… That would be Everything.

So, by that measure, it seems that right now I would have nothing…?


Southport Stressing

Getting ready to go to Southport now. It’s been … Close to unbearable. Bladder spasms are frequent – they already shoved my catheter out last night and had to call the nurses in 😞

Feeling the overwhelming tidal wave of panicking nausea as the reality of my “life”, or what fragments remain of it, hits me once again. It makes me want to scream and cry inside, and again I wonder… how on god’s earth am I supposed to cope with all this… 😞🙁🤯

The theory is that I’m going to my niece’s First Birthday party for my sister. The reality is I had no choice: With everyone else at home going, I have no choice but to go along too, staying 4 nights in a Travel Lodge in Southport (they have… acceptable… Accessible Rooms… Very basic, not too great for wheelchairs — and instead of a nice king size bed like in all other rooms, it has two children’s, cabin bed- sized beds pushed together… 😡😤). They also take dogs, so it has to be with them… And I miss my Premier Inns now… 😔

Buddy the dog is ready to leave …! 😁

I basically am forced into coming for that time because my mother is going there, visiting my sister and her little family, for that long. And without her being here, there is no one then to help me with certain things you definitely don’t want your father doing…! Thus… I have to go, too.

It’s not even about whether or not I even want to go to my niece’s party. Well, what ASD person wants to go to an echoey town hall filled with screaming or crying kids and a whole load of “adults” playing with them…? He crowd, the noise, smell of foods, the echoes… Nope. But… It’s not my choice. Either way. Even if it’s nice to attend your first niece’s birthday party.

I didn’t want to go away (to anywhere); I’ve spent the last month or so travelling a load and staying away. Even living out of a suitcase at home because what was the point of unpacking to leave again…? I’m beyond-dead-inside exhausted, and there are Roman remains buried out there that feel more alive and with it than I do.

I’m in immense pain, a hair’s breadth away from a major meltdown, and barely keeping it together. Hence this little rant now…


Does Nothing Ever Change…?

I’ve been to hell and back. I think maybe I’m still there… but at least my life isn’t on the line anymore.
27th January I got taken into hospital, half-conscious, and apparently in a bad way. They found streptococus and staphylococcus in my blood, along with a “horrendous” UTI and a bowel infection. I’m not quite sure how much longer I would have been saveable for.
Luckily, I’ll never have to find out. They saved me. It took 6 weeks of being under their care, during which I also contracted more UTIs and a mystery infection that sent my temperature to 40.9˚C. I hate to think how much Tazoan [sic?]they actually pumped into me, but I’m almost convinced my blood is now mainly made up of that and coffee now…
Sheldon–What Fresh Hell
It is completely disingenuous now to wondering it if was the right call… And, after all, I’m not in as much extreme pain as I was – is was about 1000/10 by then. Now it’s down to 9.9 or 10/10 … so there is a big difference.
However… To what end does it really matter, when you’re half-dead anyway? A brainless zombie who is still in the utmost of pain, lost in the system, broken beyond repair, not even the ghost or shadow of a shell of what I once was?
I have a catheter because I can no longer control my bladder – or feel it. And it doesn’t even want to stay in. I cannot walk or dress or wash myself. I can no longer drive, or shop, or go out, do chores, tidy up. I have no control over my environment because I can barely move.
I have difficulty eating, moving, functioning. I have zero quality of life.
No one would ever keep a dog or a cat in this state. The humane thing would be to let it go. And yet, because I am human, there is no humanity given. Instead, I must just somehow “put up with” being tortured every second of every minute of every hour of every day… for years. Five, to be exact. Well, it will be in a few short months.
Nothing ever changes. Fine – yes, I have painkillers now that make it a little better. But now the new storms have hit (Thank you, Storm Hector…), again. I’ve been rendered completely buggered once again. There is no mercy here. Just tragedy and trauma everywhere you look around. Unable to ever comprehend, never being able to correlate, just whathas happened here to me. How far I’ve fallen. How much has been lost… destroyed… 
Being eaten away, drained of everything I am, by a condition no one seems to know anything about. By one that took away everything I worked my entire life to achieve. That took away everything that I was. Who I was. What I was.
 High Pain DayI fought my way to the Summit of the mountain I climbed, and in one fell swoop I was thrown off, plummeting to the bottom of the deepest mine beneath, crushed, broken… and no one heeded my screams nor saved me on my way down. Now, I am a nothing… and I was so close to being a something… something I really wanted to be.
I was about to achieve what I had wanted my entire life – I was about to join a career-making opportunity, based on skill alone… despite not having a single official qualification for IT, and based entirely on my own brain and ability. Just a brush away from a proper salary, a permeant contract, a proper job. With one of the most incredible NHS hospitals in the country.
All gone because of something no one wanted to stop.
That plummet, bouncing, crashing, falling, spinning, all the way down past the ground level I began at, straight past it and crashing – broken into too many fragments to ever count – onto the bottom of its deepest mine… Looking all the way up… Wondering how in all Gods’ name did I get down there, and how in all Hell on Earth I was even going to attempt to get up, let alone get all the way back up there…
Holding On
Now it’s nearly Five Years hence. It’s been a living nightmare. A waking Hell. Walking the darkest horrors and enduring torturous months and years that Satan himself would balk at.
And I am genuinely wondering why I am here… How I came to be here… How was I ever supposed to be OK with the trauma of being left and ignored for all those years, until I was broken beyond repair. Listened to only because I came close to very nearly not being here from blood poisoning… and only then given a little help. Where were they when I needed it, before I got here? 
Before I was left crushed to dust with nowhere to go, unable to move or walk or even go to the bathroom… Before I needed a wheelchair and my parents to even begin to do anything?
I can’t have a shower unless it’s at a Premier Inn – who have amazingly easy to use img_0904shower wet rooms, and cute, comfortable bathtubs too. I went over 2 months without a proper shower – barely struggled, badly and horribly had one just after leaving the hospital. I only had one when I went to the Blackburn Premier Inn a couple of weeks ago. And I had my properfirst shower since I left hospital on 8th March. And I actually felt happy and relaxed after a shower for the very first time in a very long time.
Funnily enough, I can’t say anything like that about home. It’s not suitable for use. Yes, I’ve told them. I’m not holding my breath that they’re going to actually do anything about it…
That’s the world I live in… From being fully in control of my life, of my existence, of my choices, of everything… I am now at the Mercy of everyone. If I want to wash, if I want to change my Tena incontenence pants, if my catheter comes out, if I want to eat, if I want coffee, if I want to get dressed, if I need medication, if I need something from downstairs – or even from the other side of the room, if I want to use my own goddamned shower… You get the picture. For pretty much anything.
And the most insulting thing? I get paid to be ill. That’s what Disability welfare – stupid PIP and ESA – is … and it is pittance. It’s not even enough to be classed as pocket money. That’s your job now. To be unequivocally unable to do anything. And getting a tiny amount of finances to supposedly help you whilst you walk through the shadows of the Valley of Death alone, frightened, and without hope you’ll ever, ever leave again.
And the Government has the freaking impudence to think that not only can they put a price on that, that the price they choose is nothing compared to what you really need…
Somehow they think it’s enough… And if they think that, they’re either insane or delusional. Certainly certifiably stupid and ignorant.
Back to whence I came… Back to being trapped as a prisoner in my own body. Back to being imprisoned in my room. Back to not being able to wash properly. Back to struggling with agonising and debilitating pain that refuses to allow you to actually even move. Or even breathe.
Storm’s Calling… And Hell Is On Fire Once Again…
  

 


The Biggest Reality Check of All…

Someone I haven’t spoken to in a while over text sent me a quite innocent message yesterday, with Are you still alivewritten on it. A running joke when catching up after a while. It meant nothing, had no other significant meaning. They didn’t know it was not so this time.

This time, it wasn’t so funny. This time I really meant it when I wrote back, Yeh, just about

It was a literal answer… and one I was decidedly uncomfortable with. Especially when I didn’t tell them that, or why.

How do you answer someone else… Yourself… When the rest of the answer to that question is I could have died…?

I was desperately ill and point-blank refusing treatment and, well, in all honesty and reality, getting close to dying. Literally screaming myself hoarse in agony, until I was lost consciousness from the pain, for hours every day for a month, not realising my body was being attacked by a silent killer, tearing up my insides and leaving me barely conscious on a daily basis. But I still refused any help or medial treatment. The scars, the terror, the shame of the way I had been treated by medical “professionals” in the past meant I was too traumatised, especially in my current state, to go anywhere near them.

What an utterly terrifying thought… and nauseating right now, with 30/20 hindsight. I did it to myself. Unwittingly. But I still did it. And I quite possibly came a bit to close to maybe not making it. I became unreasonable, delirious, the agony too indescribable apart from being able to say it felt like actual torture.

Eventually, it seemed something in my brain snapped and I somehow, for some reason, decided to finally allow my parents to seek emergency treatment for me. I must have finally realised somewhere inside my subconscious my money was up and it was now or never, the last chance saloon. I don’t know because I don’t remember anything of that day except coming to around 5:30pm in a strange place, in a strange bed, somewhere that I only recognised as “a hospital”. Which or where I hadn’t a clue. My mother had to fill me in on the rest.

I was told I was dragged, barely conscious, downstairs and to the car, then taken to the out-of-hours GP service located in the main general hospital on Saturday 27th January.  The time on my discharge note shows it as being logged in to see them just after 12pm. They rushed me in to the Surgical Assessment Unit and ran tests, put me in x-ray and gave me a CT scan. They pushed fluids for severe dehydration and vast amounts of strong painkillers to stop me screaming. I was apparently there for five hours before I became coherent enough to come around, the pain subsided much, but still quite agonising – although nowhere near what it had been – and I had to be told what happened to me and why there were lines in my arm and why I was in a hospital. And especially the question, Which hospital?

After negative scans and intensive blood tests, it turned out I had blood poisoning and a “horrendous” [their words] UTI (urine infection). Specifically, I had contracted Staphylococcus and Streptococcus. And I’d probably had it for weeks, if not months. The entire time I’d been feeling very ill all the way to the point where I’d spent an entire month screaming myself into unconsciousness from the mind-exploding incomprehensible agony I was enduring.

I ended up being hooked up to some kick-ass antibiotics for 3 weeks before I was getting better. But us took 6 weeks before I was given the all-clear to finally go home with clean and clear blood with zero infections left in it. Even when the ococcus infections had been dimming down, I still got 2 other infections on top of it, and one of them remains an actual mystery to this day, but it was so bad I got a temperature higher than I’d even had with the blood infection – hitting 40.7˚C at its worst. They couldn’t find the actual cause (and they looked a lot) so they dumped me right back on the antibiotics (I’d just got rid of that damn cannula the day before, too!) for another week and a half or so.

So, I spent 6 weeks in hospital trying to recover from my stupidity. For the first couple of weeks I felt it acutely that it was a fight, a real battle, to get on top of this thing (or things) and get rid of it. Once I started to get the upper hand, it was a slow but assured ascent to the top of the mountain of recovery. A couple of minor setbacks is expected, and otherwise it was a fairly smooth ride, if not long. Very, very long…!

I was very lucky the people there were really good and helped me with my little Aspie quirks, and were quite happy to help and make it as easy as possible for me. I also  got a lot out of it that wasn’t just my life, or recovery too. I got actually got my life back in a different sense. Whilst I was there, I got more than I ever expected, and although the way I got there was, frankly, terrifying, I clearly needed to go there to get everything I got from it.

Institutionalisation, at certain points of extreme chaos, apparently suits me. It allows me to reset, obtain new and better habits, in a safe environment of regiment and set patterns. Whilst at hospital, their set mealtimes reset my non-functional non-eating habits that for a long time had kept blowing between starvation and binge-eating. Even stopped me being completely terrified of food after realising there were bland and basic things that could be eaten without feeling overwhelmed and shaking. I learned that some medication didn’t outrightly hate me and worked well – and for the first time in 4 years I had adequate pain control that did not require a distillery. It was such a relief. Even anti-nausea medication given alleviated the horrible nausea from the pain and allowed me to eat easier. Even Oramorph for when the pain momentarily got out of control again. Not one single side effect – just what it was made for, for a change.

I actually got people to arrange referrals for me to help with the fibromyalgia, as well as a few followups regarding what I had been through. This was the first time I’d ever received adequate assistance, support and referrals for my condition… and that was probably because this was the first time that medical professionals had spent 24/7 over 6 weeks to see what I was going through. I even had a wonderful OT (Occupational Therapist) organise my being able to see my dog downstairs whilst I was stuck there, and I ended up managing it twice, which was wonderful.

By the time I left, I really was ready to go home. As in I was clear of any and all infections, everything had been put into place, and I was going home with support and medication that was going to make my life easier to live with. It may not have been the best way to end up getting help, but somehow having a serious illness had managed to bring the never-ending freefall of Hell I had been spinning in, and send me in a completely new direction.

Yes.. Life Is Strange…

 

 

 


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