Autistic Bilingualism

This is as if I could have written it myself, also being Welsh… I can’t believe there’s someone else like me in this way out there… Thank you to the author for writing this and saying words that I could not xx 😊

Autism and expectations

I’m bilingual

My first language is English. It’s what my parents spoke at home, my first words and thoughts were English. I learnt Welsh when I went to Ysgol Feithryn (nursery). I would have been about two. It carried on into a first-language Welsh primary school, and then a secondary school where English was not permitted even in the playground (making it the ironically rebellious act). I did my GCSEs in Welsh. I learned French and German and a smattering of Japanese through the medium of Welsh.

I remember a teacher once saying to me (and time passed means it will be a clumsy paraphrase), “It must be so hard for all you second-language-Welsh pupils, you have to translate everything in your head. You see a table, you thing ‘table’ and then look for the Welsh word, ‘bwrdd’ and then you can say it.”

I looked blankly at her. I…

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Please Make The Stupid People Go Away… (The PIP Fiasco Continues…)

It’s come to the point of I’m getting scared of what’s going to happen to me next. How much the people out there who are supposed to help you are not only just going to ignore you, but they’re going to kick you in the nuts when you’re down, too. With Jibgle Bells on their toes.

Two bad things happened today, and I’m wondering how much more shambles there’s going to be in out beloved Health & Social “Care” system before most of this place falls apart because no one can get the help they need to be even vaguely productive. Or even alive.

The DWP are even worse than a joke… It’s almost like they’re in the business of causing as much suffering as possible. Constantly, consistently, and completely.

I have tried and I can’t find anyone else quite like me… and it seems that because I’m quite unique everyone wants to put me down. Even downright lie.

Today I got the PIP assessment outcome. Turns out that they give with one hand and take with the other.

Firstly, I finally got the “Higher Mobility” component – lets get the one single good thing out of the way.

20160701_221010000_iOSSecondly, it turns out they lied outright on some of the “Daily Living” parts, leaving me with the same “Standard Daily Living” Component. I know this because I called the guy who looked at the case and made his decision. He explained what “evidence” he had been given by the person I saw… and it turns out they omitted some things and downright lied on others. They hadn’t listened. Clearly rushed the report. Missed giving them vital evidence and letters. Misheard or misreported what I had told her (how the hell am I supposed to be able to be able to still code and do my own sites etc “competently” or game when I’m like this???!). She even missed giving them verbal communication and somehow “saw” I had “good” dexterity – whatever hands she actually saw, I totally want them instead! 😤😡

In hindsight, she was all “Oh I’ll do this right now for you so it’s all done and with them”… and ergo clearly rushed it and did not do a good enough job at all. Or she was just mean. Either way, I got screwed.

When I called, at least the guy on the other end was willing to put me into the first stage of Appeal (some sort of re-review). He stated he would send me a copy of the main report, and I was to note my responses to them and why they were wrong. I was also to send a copy of the letter from the neurologist regarding the Hemiplegic Migraine diagnosis.

You know why…??

Because that inebriate I saw negated to send the diagnosis letter I gave her or mention it whatsoever. At all. It wasn’t even in the notes. We talked extensively about it.

So I’m hopping harder than a bag of frogs, and as pretty furious as my emotions will allow me to be without going into meltdown.

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Now… You’d think the horrible would stop there. But, oh no. This is my life we’re talking about. Sod and his Law wasn’t done with me yet…

Next, the letter that came with the PIP letter today was from a stock and repair centre for basic mobility. I was wondering why they had sent me what could possibly me the least specific, least helpful letter ever.

I understand from our Approvved Repairer that they have not been successful in contacting you to arrange an appointment to either deliver/collect/repair equipment etc., [sic]

I hall be most greatful if you will contact [them] to agree a mutually convenient deliver date and time.

I had no idea what it was about… Who the hell would? So of course I rang them. And the frogs swallowed a Tigger and they started hopping to the roof.

I had never been contacted by these people before, so what the hell were they talking about? Well, it turns out it was for a wheelchair. Some off-the-peg piece of crap they had probably dug out of the back room. You may be unsurprised to hear that was not the agreement nor what I requested whatsoever.

I had asked the physio (a wet blanket if I ever saw one…) to be referred to ALAC (Artificial Limb & Appliance Service) of Wales (based in Wrexham around here) to be assessed for a proper wheelchair for my long term needs. What do they do instead? They don’t even contact me, sending some nightmare chair to their distribution and delivery centre without even talking to me first… I cannot explain just how bad and unprofessional that is.

Let’s just say if that was a professional private company, they’d have their ass handed to them via the serious complaints system of the corporation. My mother is still a professional nurse in a care home, works with them all the time, and even when I told her, her reaction was… “What?? Why?!” It was three ways from Sunday deplorable. And of course I told the service centre guys to send it the hell back.

My reaction was absolute astounded horror. Actually, that doesn’t even cover it, but it’s the closest the English Language has, I think. I couldn’t even think or move (well, as much as I might be able to anyway). It was a good thing my father was home. He helped calm me, then I spoke to my mam at work so she could give me some decent jargon to throw back at them. But when I was all ready to go, no one even answered the phone. All I got was voicemail. Frickin voicemail. On a Friday early afternoon. Talk about a message of “bugger off and don’t spoil my weekend”…

Thus I sent them a rather lecturing and detailed email. With big words. Well, they asked for it, the buggers.

I’m already struggling with my own current wheelchair (do not ever go to Ableworld Specialist Department – they’re rediculous and pathetic, and I wish I had never, ever chosen them to get my chair though… They do not know what they’re doing 😤 They ruined my chair measurements and centre of gravity, got fittings wrong, and did not give me what I asked of them… And now they’re arguing with me about it!!  😲 ). I did not need all this as well. In this country [Wales] they are not taking disabilities, ASD, or chronic illness seriously at all (except for a few professional individuals). I’m 36 and struggling. I should not be struggling, illness and ASD or not. It’s not right or fair or even logical to stop people reaching their potential because you just get in their way.

… My answer is what I have come to call The Queen of Darkness. With age I realised that this part of my Aspie (as I know it to be now) took over and just barrel-rolled over everything and everyone in her way. Darkness is her home. Bad things are her air. She fixes the wrong and doesn’t take crap from people. She [I] made it clear that “no” was not an option. That walking over her was not an option. That being an idiot wasn’t an option. It’s something that came out of me through necessity to survive my later teen years and 20s. Then… “She” disappeared.

Perhaps because that part of me was no longer needed. However, now it seems that she needs to return. So I guess someone’s going to have to put her Big Girl Panties on and get serious with people and life again. Otherwise I’m never going to get anywhere.

If there’s people out there who can lie and rig the system to the point they can defraud the DWP for years, there is most certainly a way to package the truth to also get what I require to help me live my life. To save my life. To get the same thing, but for real reasons. It’s certainly not right that I struggle so much, and these struggles get pushed under the carpet by the PIP people without another care in the world, as if they – if I – do not matter.

Nope. Not OK. At all.

She’s coming now to kick their asses. Hard.

 


Silent Suffering, All Alone…

Does the grief ever really go away? The one you feel from all that you’ve lost?

The shame, the humiliation, the degradation, the demeaning secret truth of the life you have to… exist with… it just never seems to become “OK”.

To lose so many of the general functions you were used to your body doing for you, that you took for granted… does that ever really become something that’s really “OK”? You lose so much… I’ve lost so much… It’s not OK. Not even close.

It’s hard to know that the people around you just do not understand what you have to deal with… whilst at the same time so relived about that too. But then… they do and say things without understanding the impact on you, or the extent you have to push yourself to meet their expectations, or their level. What I mean is that they just think “popping out” is just something you can just do. Just like that. Or walking just anywhere they want is just fine, etc. When you live with a chronic illness, when you’re living in a wheelchair, when you sometimes can barely breathe because it hurts so much or your just too exhausted to manage it, it’s not that simple. Not even close. Getting out of bed is nothing to them, but to you, that’s every spoon you have and then some. Then they expect you to do even more.

I run on zero spoons. I do as much as I can on it, from going out for the day, to trying to do something normal like reading or reading, to attempting to make some food (which also requires at least one other person, too), but when they’re then a little tired from it they want “a little lie down”… as if they’ve done so much more than you have, expecting you then to do things for them… that really grates on me, and they do it because, quite frankly, you’re so damn used to it and they’re not. You live with the mind-killing exhaustion of chronic fatigue, so you therefore must be more used to it and are OK… Right? I’m not sure what this logic is, but it’s rather mean – and frankly, either ignorant or naive.

It’s not nice when just getting out of bed was utterly exhausting, then spending your day in your wheels, and your (frankly) grown-up Huggies, having no say over when you go or how, and just about able to stop yourself crying from pain or exhaustion or paraesthesia symptoms, or all the above.

It’s horrid when everybody leaves you behind for their “normal” lives, and look on with distain when you turn up in their lives… You’re supposed to deal with it, but Heaven forbid they do for a day or a few hours. What’s worse, is they make their jusgments without knowing the true extent or details… and they really don’t want to, either. What’s worse than the reality of seeing you is acknowledging the true reality of what you have to deal with. And they don’t want to know that… you know, in case it upsets them. Poor, poor them.

It’s hard so see everyone else in your life get on with being “OK” and you struggle to simply go to the bathroom. As your very basic functions, ones that you don’t even remember living without before, fail terribly and leave you stranded back in those days once again… How can you even look them in the eye with your head held high? Siting in grown-up Huggies pull-ups, or giant-tabbed Pampers, knowing they might not even do the job properly, how in hell are you supposed to have any self-esteem left?

I can barely feel anything from the chest, the lower rib cage, down (including not being able to feel the diaphragm), and thus I’ve been left with less and less control over things – first the legs, then a little bit of the pelvic floor, to having no concept of most of my abdomen, or lower abdomen, and my pelvic floor is barely even a memory anymore. Today, a really bad thing happened in this area and it was extraordinarily humiliating, and overwhelmingly shocking – to be faced with the reality of how far my body has slipped from my own grasp has left me reeling and unable to comprehend where I am (figuratively) in my own self, my life, my entire existence.

I’m hurting inside, but again, there’s no one there who really understands what’s going on… and once again I am alone. How do you even explain? It’s horrifying to you, so what does it evoke in other people? If you’re ashamed, what will they think? You can only imagine they would be horrified. Like you are.

I do not know how to deal with feelings. I don’t like feelings. They’re messy, unquantifiable, horrible, uncomfortable, and usually I can’t even cry (which I don’t like anyway because it makes your face soggy). Right now, I have a lot, and I don’t know what to do with them, how to process them, how to manage to get the hell rid of them, to be honest. I think there’s guilt, maybe shame… There’s definitely sad. Loss. Grief. Reeling and shock. But they all get so very overwhelming, and then I get very confused and upset.

In the last few days, maybe a week or so now (I lose track of the days), my hands have started playing up, and started not working properly. The paraesthesia in them is astounding and so painful. I can’t move them they’re so numb (imagine someone tied your wrists so tight it cut off the blood flow and you have them tied up like that all day). They can spasm so badly they curl up on themselves so tightly, they leave deep nail marks in your palms. They can never open out properly, they’re in a permentant “claw”. It prevents me from being able to do even the simplest thing, and also can prevent me from playing games, or even following a conversation because the sensation (or pain) is so bad there is no more room in my brain for anything else. It makes writing [typing] so hard sometimes that if I manage at all, every word has a spelling mistake at best and is gibberish at worst. It’s emotionally painful to endure, to be honest.

I feel like I’ve been left to rot by the system. Everyone has been less than useless. I’ve just been left to my own devices, and I’m floundering in trying to help myself. The diagnosticians throw me to general services (pain clinic, psych, physio, etc) and discharge me to make their targets look good. Those other services have nothing to  offer except inefficiency and long waiting lists you stay on just to see how inefficinent they are. It’s certainly not to be helped by them.

I’m lost, broken and alone, still trying to find something of myself in all this, wondering if I can ever rise to get the better of it, so I am what is driving me, not this.

 


Some More New Life Hacks

I have added two more “workarounds” for my Firefly (wheelchair) – a cup holder and an iPad/phone holder.

IMG_2249I found out that – for some reason – these things “especially designed” for wheelchairs cost a damn fortune. And there’s almost no choice anyway. So I found alternatives.

The cup holder I found is for prams and pushchairs – it’s a Go Baby Grow cup holder for parents to put on their stroller/pram, and it comes with extra hooks to tie to your push/wheelchair, which are very handy. They were a fraction of the price of the only specific wheelchair cup holder I could find here, and I even got it on one of Amazon Lightening Sale deals.

It’s hot and cold drink safe, easy to put on, and having the extra hooks ended up being really quite useful, when tied to my back push-handles.

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IMG_2252There’s also my iPad/Phone holder: That was on a lightening deal and cost about 10% of what specially made wheelchair ones cost.

This is an iPad arm stand mainly made for tables, but can be utilised with a number of things… and in my case it’s also a wheelchair. I have it clamped to the front, on the side leg, and it doens’t really overbalance or anything when you’ve put it on properly.

It’s been great and makes a big difference to using my phone or iPad, both in the house and when out and about. It’s both out of the way, easily available, and makes the device easily usable. It’s a stable product and the clamp is easy to use and holds in-situ well. I’m very pleased with it, and its an excellent life hack for the wheelchair.

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Thinking outside the box is really important when it comes to living outside the normal rules and you have wheels instead of feet.

Annoyingly, it turns out that walking people make things for wheeling people, then greatly overcharge because they just can. Finding any alternatives can be hard – and sometimes there just aren’t any. But other times, there are a lot more options if you look elsewhere.

Keep an open mind and allow some innovation, and never think the status-quo is all there is out there… Learn to look beyond it and you can get some great ideas! 🙂


My ASD: Mistakes. Are. Bad… Very. Bad.

I’m not even sure why they even exist… but these physiotherapists are just such a waste of time. She screwed up again – and I pretty much had a meltdown about it, also causing a big set of severe Fibro spasm attacks. Hoorah

After going to so much trouble to get the right date this week so my mother was here with me, the damn physio wrote in the wrong date anyway into the diary when she got back, and after waiting and waiting and waiting, I only find this out after I call when she’s an hour late. So that’s two ruined days because of her, which has just sent an already troubling and difficult week into a horrible tailspin.

It is clear that no matter what acts or policies that are in place, nobody cares about how they treat you when you have ASD. It’s OK for them – they’re not the ones who have to deal with the meltdown (or at least severe anxiety attack) that is the result of this god-awful thoughtlessness. After trying to deal with it all afternoon, I had an anxiety attack and mini-meltdown later on in the evening, after that panic built and built and built. It in turn ended up in a series of severe spasm attacks that were horrific and painful. But she didn’t have to care about that, did she? No. She could be ignorant of it, never know about it, never need to care about it. It doesn’t affect her. So why should she care, right?

Apparently, that’s how they all think. It’s certainly how they all behave… And it’s just horrible. To the point of being traumatising.

20160920_173759000_iOSWhen appointments are made, stick to them. Don’t be late. Call if you’re going to be late. Isn’t that “NT” politeness anyway? Well, it’s vital in my world. I’ve already had PIP mess me around. I’ve already been thrown into hell with the isobars down at 1000mb level, unable to even breathe sometimes it’s so painful. I’ve already had a hell of a morning, starting with 3-4 hours of going through the motions of trying to get up – yes, that’s how hard it is. And I’ve had to get up super-early so there’s enough time to do all this and regain an equilibrium before the appointment…

And then after all of my efforts I find the physio didn’t even try to get this right. After we brought out the calander and showed her all the dates my mother was available. She still couldn’t get it right. The emotional turmoil of this, of all my efforts for nothing, that the fact she could make such a mistake that cost me so much… It’s just too much to bare.

There’s also the other point that I cannot even begin to cope with changes… as well as the horrifying realisation that she probably didn’t get the message I left with their reception to cancel the appointment she wrote up, and that she might come tomorrow anyway. When she wasn’t supposed to. When I told her not to… And then I have to cope with that thought, with that change, with that intrusion, because she wasn’t supposed to come tomorrow… It’s horrifying to think that she thinks it’s OK to put me though such a thing, just because she can’t concentrate long enough to put the correct date down. It seems so unfair. It’s not like they don’t know I have ASD… They just don’t care, or have a clue about it. Or care to have a clue about it.

Proving legislation and policy  is a complete and utter waste of time.

Tomorrow, either I’m going to be home alone when she comes, or my father remains here with me instead of attending his weekly visit to see his elderly mother. I don’t understand emotion generally, but I know that uncomfortable feeling of guilt. And that last option makes me feel a lot of that. The former terrifies the bejeezus out of me – I have no intention of being there alone with her. I’ll either say nothing, or say precisely what’s on my mind… which I’ve learnt that NTs do not want to hear. Apparently they’re allergic to the truth. The polite fluff they engage in is still beyond me, even though I generally attempt to emulate it. Probably quite badly, but hey… at least I try. Which is more that can be said for the other way – not many NTs [professionals] try to understand ASD-Land at all.

Like the physiotherapist. And PIP.

GrumpyBearI am “ranting”, but it’s so very horrible. “NT” people never seem to understand this – although some at least accept it. I’m terrified of tomorrow (and that’s actually an understatement), and the fact the isobars are still on the floor are not helping. It’s going to be a long morning, at the end of which, I have to call the receptionist back tomorrow to verify the appointment has been cancelled and the physio is not coming. She was supposed to call about it (the physio, that is) and reschedule, and she never did. With that evidence I can only conclude she thinks she’s still coming here. It seems that if she has a mobile phone, neither her receptionist nor myself have the details of it to contact her directly when she’s out.

I knew they were a waste of time, but since the initial attempt at contact was a farce. It’s not ending, either. It still is. I can’t see any reason to continue with this – it’s one extra burden I can do without, given there’s no payoff from it. I’m already ahead of her game, and so far she can offer nothing better. So I’m wondering why I’m spending the effort of enduring hours of pain and torment to get up in time for her to come, when she’s not actually even coming in the end, because she couldn’t do one simple thing right – write an appointment in her diary on the correct day. And repeating it all again in case she turns up tomorrow. It’s harrowing.

I really am honestly scared of facing tomorrow. I hope I get some sleep… It’s “only” 1:49am as I write this now. And there’s a long night ahead…

 

A Question of Sanity