Lifehacks 2017

Ok, I start my day without an alarm clock, I hate being forced awake. If important I have my phone and a clock radio to make sure. 

I’ll set two alarms with a twenty minute gap, first one is a ‘false’ one, too early second is real.

I need coffee to jolt a start, I have a dolce gusto maker with the Nescafé pods. It’s easy to use and pretty much does job.

To plan myway to work I use Realtime Trains website to plan the train I’m going to catch. There are others but that’s easy and I calculate in my regular walk to station when looking at departures. 

It shows which platform I need to get on at and which platform the train terminates at.

I use a travel pass bought monthly for train and bus. Minimises ticket buying and simple enough to use. My area doesn’t yet have a smart card that works like a London Oystercard on all modes.

Once at work in morning I drink Coconut Water (Potassium) and have a Plain Yoghurt (Gut Bacteria), 

I try to take these at home on non workdays. Yeo Valley natural yoghurts taste okay to me and have active ingredients.

Longer term, I think the yoghurt helps with regular use. It’s helpful for the irritable bowel and toilet issues I can have.

For lights and things I have blue lenses on my glasses and my eyes were tested for colour sensitivity and colour is correct for me.

They help with seeing, depth perception, distance, balance and dealing with non natural light in rooms and spaces. Also very useful in navigating through people at busy places.

I have Flare Audio earplugs to cut noise. I will still hear a bit but it cuts out noises that irritate, humming sounds from electricity, burrs and beeps. I carry one set with me and I keep another in my bedroom.

If more active sounds are present I use wireless headphones paired with my phone for music. Mine were on offer and worth looking around, long term aspiration is for a better set.

For smells that irritate, get a small tin of Vaseline and rub inside your nostrils. Not perfect but helps.

To have human contact I tweet and write here. I’m much better communicating by text.

My vacuum cleaner is a Miele it’s one of the quietest out there. I can bear using it.

If I need to use washing machine on full program I set it before leaving the house. The noise and vibration are better not experienced and good timing helps.

I use soft drinks for energy crashes and I tend to like chocolate chip cookies in a five pack from supermarkets as a booster too.

My phone is optimised for my blue glasses and the brightness and tint of display can be set. 

I use one screen for all apps. I group apps in bundles rather than needing to scroll the front page.

Daily little things can help with anxiety and backward planning from when I have to be somewhere to when I must leave house helps.

It’s a series of little things that I do and have changed in my life since diagnosis.

I’m currently seeing if green tea instead of coffee in afternoons helps sleeping pattern at night. It seems to, but I’ll give it a few more weeks to be sure.

Processing

Some things take time. 

My head works around things, sometimes and necessarily avoids the issues. Coping enough to allow day to day function and a whole ability to just be.

The face doesn’t drop and it doesn’t rise. The problems are there. The days pass and move on.

I get there, I realise what I’ve done or not done. It hits hard. The emotional crunch. A bite of humility, a torn piece of pride, sadness at the pit of my stomach, shallow and almost worthless breathes.

I grieve and fixate and the possibilities burn in my mind and weigh at me. It bites my mood and appetite and desires.

The functioning continues, days and weeks and work and home.

Days go into weeks and months and years and I think whether I can raise my head again, regain the ‘mojo’, the essence, the bits of me subsumed in that hurt and dealing with it.

Tears at random times. Inexplicably not when I’d like them to happen. 

Bursts of frustration and anguish. Minutes of darkness. Days of numb.

Does it lift? It’s like a cloud blanket screening the sun, it’s like fog. 

Permission isn’t granted to escape it. No driving thoughts of renewal or restoration. Merely existing and being.

It’s hard to explain, it’s hard to see through the moments clearly, it difficult to replay the pictures in the mind and hard to admit the loss and the pain and the defeat.

It’s not for talking over and making a public sport. Random sympathy doesn’t quite help. Hearing stories or being patronised won’t cut it.

Rising again isn’t that straightforward but the processing completes and the emotions dull after a while.

Tonight’s joy of strangers harrassing me.

I get on train plenty of time. Walk all way to front to avoid people.

Put headphones on and was in middle of registering for smartcard when saw man gesturing.

He was drunk and had Burger King bags and his girlfriend. Clearly wanted the 4 facing seats where I was.

A minute later he’s sat on the 5 flip-up seats nearby with her. I notice him looking at me for some reason.

I get my stuff together and walk to front of train. Stand in the vestibule.

They take the seats.

I don’t know why I attract grief and people like that. I wasn’t doing harm to anyone. I’m tired after working and had a bag of food shopping. It was nice for a few minutes to be comfortable.

Generally I find that people have to harass me. I don’t understand it. I don’t look for it. I don’t look at people commmunicate with people if possible.

Icing on cake was a twitter follower thinking it was fucking funny. Unfollowed and blocked. I take enough shit from people.

I’m admittedly not in good spirits, not feeling very good. 

My elderly father is in hospital and I’ve had a hell of a time getting up and back to visit him. A Paisley bound bus deliberately didn’t display correct destination and left me and others standing best part of an hour last night. Very much could have done without that.

So, I was tired this morning, tired tonight and just wanting peace and left alone.

Sometimes I do despair. 

Sometimes I want to beat people’s heads in until they are bloody. 

That’s why I walked to the front of the train. I considered walking back to the man and woman a number of times as I was angry and frustrated at being hounded.

Sense holds me and stops me from that as I can’t lose my job, my kids, my life over people that are ignorant lie life scum.

As usual between Glasgow and Paisley, no conductor visible, no one to say I was harassed out the seat.

I have no idea what pleasure people get from that. I can only hope that they die an unpleasant long slow death one day. Hopefully soon.

Anyway back on with the living stuff.

Having a bubble.

I’m having a tear in my eyes. I’m bubbling. I did what I needed to do today and now I’m indulging myself with a cry.

I don’t often indulge myself, as the years have went on I’ve realised my dreams in my youth and twenties wouldn’t be realised. I wouldn’t have the perfect true relationship, I wouldn’t have the life I wanted.

So, things change to here and now, little need for regret or wishes.

Practicality. What next. What’s to do? I keep going. There’s not much philosophy behind it. It’s a steady will not to give in, not to be beaten. 

I used to say ‘broken’ but, that’s sort of wrong. I’m can take a lot of emotional punishment, but I still hurt. 

The ‘bulletproof vest’ might have dents and marks but it still works. I don’t take it off, slow to engage, slow to trust, hard to get past the outside.

I do care, maybe I never show it. I do feel and hurt the same as others. 

I’ve taken a real emotional going over with the last year. I’ve had so much to contend with. I’ve plowed on.

Alone. No one with me, no one there for me as friend or family.

My family are my kids. They are my world and my everything.

I enjoyed being with them today. Had a good day, but at days end, it’s me and a screen. 

I take comfort from ‘online friends’, I know they are real/not real, I know it’s a link to the world I wouldn’t have otherwise, i know it’s not the same as a phone call or a text or a chat. 

I bubble and cry from feelings and mood and loneliness. 

I miss touch and feel and contact and nearness. At same time I can be awful at that, cold to those near me that need it.

I try very hard with the kids and to be at their level. I’m maybe different as ‘dad’ to ‘me’, I don’t have the skill set to do that as a friend or more.

I don’t think there’s a fairytale female figure who’s like me and understands and is my age and the right fit. The person that could pick me up, fix my dents, make me happy.

I don’t want meaningless contact with people, I don’t want to push myself into looking for someone or someone that doesn’t probably exist.

Deep under it all, I’m a soppy romantic and I think of soulmates and that sort of instinctive love. It may well be s product of fictional movies and merely just a writer ‘s creation. I guess I’d rather believe in it than not.

So, a soft core with a hard outer shell, older, weathered, grounded and real. Bubbling for could have been different and I wish I could.

Tomorrow, I rise again. Do what I need to do. Be ‘dad’, be me. 

I advise myself that time heals, hurt is temporary. Nothing is always forever and things change and move on. I know my cod psychology and my motivators and stressors and my impacts and to tread lightly as everyone has something going on.

It’s not unfair. It’s not just me. It’s not my fault, it’s not all for me to ‘own’ or be responsible for.

But right now, I’m not the self actualised Warror or Wizard figure. I’m the Orphan just needing to have that time to be hurt and to process it. 

I’ll be fine, always am. Right now just isn’t that moment though.

Being Frightened of a word.

I’m 44, I nudge 6’0″, I don’t drink much alcohol and I stopped smoking last year. 

My issue is that I’ve gotten fat.

The word I’m avoiding is Jacamo, it sells clothes for men in bigger sizes. They’re good at what they do and if I must, I will.

I’m at size 40 waist for trousers and some shops do that, most supermarkets do, but not always.  I wore the arses out of several pairs of jeans this year. That ought to have been a warning.

So I’m trying to reign myself in. Less sugary soft drinks and less biscuity treats for breakfast. 

I’m cutting down, trying to be more sensible and trying just to stop a bit of the rot.

I’ve been juggling things in terms of stress with a lot going on and whilst I can cope a bit more now, I need to look at what I’m eating and just to give myself enough of a break from what I was doing. 

If there’s an aim it’s just to not get worse and to get just to be size 38. 

So, is it sensible, can I do it? Probably. Not eating what I like is boring. I’ll need to try and keep myself motivated. 

To work, it’s weeks and months, I can’t be silly and think temporary fixes but knowing that it’s time just to be a little more sensible a day at a time.

Mood affects eating, I know that. Some comforts help, but it all adds up and I’ve went too far. What else can I do.

So I get an email

I got my latest email from The National Autistic Society on social groups etc. It advised of a new volunteer and gave some information on them.

I had to email back saying thanks for information but can you take me off mailing list.

Probably seems petty, but I hadn’t been to any of the social groups in a while and the PIP stuff just made me want to give up on it all and I have. 

I also got annoyed at the venue change. An event by a local MP put paid to using a comfortable venue in a coffee shop. The shop were happy to have us, but not for us to have the exclusive use of the room. 

The new venue wasn’t as nice as it was where the wake for my mums funeral was and I found that difficult.

I also became more uncomfortable with people as they didn’t work and weren’t subject to the daily stress of work and my parenting commitments. 

It was good meeting autistic people and I learned a lot, but ultimately I guess I just wasn’t comfortable.

Timing wasn’t ideal as I had my daughter every second Friday and even when I could make it, I felt I had to help with the other kids and stuff.

The PIP decision means I’m not as ‘disabled’ as them, I don’t qualify for any of the discounts they get on things and I don’t really get the support they receive either.

NAS was initially introduced to me as ‘they’re gonna help’, but after two afternoons talking to and giving details to them, I  realised I couldn’t afford a fee for an organised social group (£60) that meet up and do things.

I wasn’t made aware in any way other than being told by other people about a ‘secret group’ of autistic people that work in Glasgow. When I tried to say hello one day, they were in a back room of a venue and I had no way of guessing that.

I haven’t had any meaningful help or support from NAS. I stopped following on twitter a long time back and I rarely support their campaigns now.

NAS may provide a service for kids, but as a late diagnosed adult, that also doesn’t qualify as Disabled, they really did nothing for me.

It’s another element to my estrangement with aspergers and autism. If I want social contact, I’ll need to learn again how to do so with people that I think I can trust. I’m a long way off doing that.

For now, I’ll swerve anything to do with NAS. 

The way home..

So, I miss the 1806 by a minute, I check realtime for next train 1818.

I find platform get on train and wait. It gets busier. A woman sits diagonally across from me. 

I shift my jacket rucksack and shopping bag so I’m not blocking inside seat. I also place in my earplugs as more people get on. I’m already wearing my blue lense glasses.

Then a Blonde, Slim, attractive woman in a dress sits across from me.  

The phone screen literally cannot be big enough now, I’m reading an article online and I’m trying not to look anywhere else and basically am a bit terrified.

Now, it’s absolutely my issue. She could be married, a lesbian or anything, no reason to suppose anything.  I just kind of got flustered and then tried to just get myself through to getting off the train. 

Thankfully it was a quick journey and I got up as early as I could for the train door.

8 minutes or something. She was wearing a dress and there were arms and legs and hair and makeup.

Did I look properly?, definitely not.

What does it mean? It means that subconsciously, I do look and am attracted to women.

 I know my limits on communication and understanding everything that goes on. I look awful, I’m overweight and I need my ‘blues’ anyway.

So I know my own issues, I see a mirror, I won’t pretend I’m something I’m not and I won’t deceive myself either. I have three kids too.

So I try not to look, I generally steer clear and keep myself away from looking or seeming or being inappropriate.

I’ve rarely been out socially in years and I doubt I can do drinking/pubbing/clubbing to any degree. 

Alcohol might be nice in a way, but I know it’s effects and the limits that I have with it too.

I’m not suddenly going to sprout hair or get thinner and that’s all down the list of things I need.

I doubt I have time and ability to make sense of all of that and after failed previous relationships. I doubt I can succeed at it either.

So it’s catch 22. A vague idea that someone female would be nice balanced against a bit of fear in terms of interacting. 

The worst thing was probably that I was reading an Elle article about Involuntary Celebacy on the train before I moved around and got flustered. 

I’m sort of worried and sort of unsure enough of myself after recent events and I’m still a bit off.

I know I’m scared of women and I’m scared on interacting and I’m generally not good at any of it.

The article on involuntary celibacy was a bit scary too and I don’t want to be too far down that road either. 

I can suppose on being happy or settled or sorted or more comfortable in future.

But again, it’s figuring out a lot of stuff and getting in a position of being happier with myself.

Next time on the train, I’ll stare at the floor.