The Little Group of Autism

If you have read by blog before you might know that In 2013 I was diagnosed as being on the Autistic Spectrum. As far as I knew at the time I was the only person out of my friends & family that was autistic.

As I didn’t know anyone else with this condition I felt very isolated & lost. I spent ages looking for others like me. I managed to find Facebook groups on the subject & ended up making some great new friends. These friends have really helped me along the way & have given me confidence to be just be me. I also discovered that my friend Claire is autistic. She had made her own group called ‘My Kind of People’ & that inspired me to make a group for myself.

I started my group on Thursday 10th October to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Day. it’s called ‘The Little Group of Autism.’ It’s a group just for people on the Autistic Spectrum.

I don’t want it to be big group. I just wanted a place where people can really get to know each other, because sometimes in larger groups your voice can get lost or drowned out by others. You are also more likely to clash with others in larger groups. I’m hoping that won’t be the case here.

One of the happiest moments since making the group was having the creator of one of my favourite web comics ‘Aspie-rations’ Theresa Scovil-Hertwig join. If you have not read her comic before go check it out!

Anyway, I wasn’t going to post about my group on my blog but then I thought someone reading this might be on the spectrum too.

If that is the case then maybe you are looking to find more people like you.

So if you are reading this & are on the spectrum maybe my group or one of the others might be for you.

I know I’ve basically made an echo chamber but sometimes an echo chamber is what you need…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/469990823594514/

Little Group of Autism

42 things about being forty two.

It’s the last week of me being 42 so I had to write a list about being 42.

  1. Nothing really changes.
  2. I wonder how people much younger than me have managed to acheive so much.
  3. Having to accept that I’m never going to be a spy/astronaut/ninja/pirate/robot.
  4. Losing weight isn’t as easy as it once was.
  5. BBC Radio One is not for me.
  6. I listen to BBC radio 4.
  7. Little things annoy me.
  8. Years don’t feel that long.
  9. My handwriting is still awful.
  10. Most of my clothes are over 10 years old, some are even 20.
  11. Bands I consider to be fairly new bands have all been going for more than 10 years.
  12. I was 30 twelve years ago.
  13. Teenagers think you are old.
  14. Many people my age have teenage kids.
  15. It’s harder to keep a willing suspension of disbelief when watching films and TV.
  16. I still feel like I am 16.
  17. Music doesn’t excite me like it once did.
  18. Some of the girls I went to school with are now grandparents.
  19. Being young at heart is better than being young.
  20. I have written an online blog in some form or another for 20 years.
  21. Realising that 21 is half my age.
  22. A lot of people expect you to act your age.
  23. I am still useless at spelling & maths.
  24. By 24 Kevin Smith had written and directed Clerks.
  25. I’m old enough to be Justin Bieber’s & Miley Cyrus’s dad.
  26. Things don’t impress me much.
  27. My diet hasn’t changed.
  28. I am older than Tom Hardy, Zachary Quinto, & Michael Fassbender.
  29. My short term memory is awful.
  30. When I was 30 I tried to make a mental effort to grow up.
  31. When I was 31 I realised that I was never really going to grow up.
  32. I still look 32.
  33. I’m going grey.
  34. Some of the guys I went to school with have gone bald.
  35. If I was an american I would old enough to be their president.
  36. When I was 36 I wrote 36 things about being thirty six
  37. In a row!?
  38. I have a mortgage, wife, and kids.
  39. I am always tired.
  40. I might be immortal.
  41. Things are always changing.
  42. I am the meaning of Life, The Universe, and Everything!

Guess who’s back?

It’s me.

Hello. So it’s been around three years since I last posted. I have totally lost the knack of writing – that’s if I ever had a knack at all. Basically I wanted to write again because recently I have felt the need to reach out to others more. Try and be more open and not hide myself away.

As you can probably tell a lot has happened in the last 3 years.

So what have I been up to? That’s always a difficult question for me to answer, as I always just say “Not much. You know the same old, same old.” This is because I’m terrible at small talk. It always seem to be at the end of the conversation that I then suddenly remember that I do have something to say. So what are those things,

I now have two children, with the eldest now starting school, and the youngest turning 2 in October. I love my boys so much. I didn’t think I would be able to cope with being a father but even though it can be a struggle at times I wouldn’t change things for the world. The two of them are special. I know everyone says that about their own children, but these two are awesome. Firstly they were born a day before our birthdays. The eldest being born a day before my wife’s birthday and the youngest being born the day before mine. I am always impressed how easily they can understand things, and how they can brighten my mood with a smile.

I have been coming to terms with being on the autistic spectrum, and embracing my differences more. I have been more open to talk about the condition, I even set up a Autism Awareness training day at work.

I have returned to social media and have joined a few Facebook groups for autistic people, and have set up a group chat so I can talk to others. I have yet to embrace Twitter again. I’m not sure that I will. With Twitter the magic of the early days are gone. I also don’t think I have the energy to post short random updates anymore. Saying that I don’t know how often I will post on this blog either. I do want to post ’42 things about being forty two’ while I’m still 42. I have to get a few Douglas Adams references in there somewhere.

So that’s really it for now.

P.S I’m now on level 39 of Pokemon Go.

Some time later…

So… It’s been a while since I last wrote anything. I’ve been meaning to post, but I just haven’t had the time to sit down and do it. As you can imagine my life is a lot different now.

So what have I been up to? Well a lot and a little.

I have given up on maintaining a social media presence.

I’ve never really been a Facebook person and Twitter wasn’t making me happy. I had lost touch with the people I felt close to and it just wasn’t the same place it used to be.

I think the nail in the coffin was when I discovered that someone had stolen my identity on Twitter. They were using my photos for a twitter account where they claimed that I/they were born in the wrong body and wrong skin colour. So I/they were actually a black woman born in a white mans body? I didn’t really understand it. I contacted the person and asked them remove my photos and they complied. I didn’t take the matter any further but after that and the issues I’ve had in the past with online bullying I felt like I had had enough.

I’m almost 40.

I keep thinking that once I reach 40 there will be an chemical change in my brain and I will suddenly become an adult and know how to do adult things. It seems only like the other day when I wrote 36 things about being thirty six so I am not going to write a list of 40 things about being forty but here is a short list of things that I assume will happen once I turn 40;

  • Being able to change a tyre and do basic car mechanics
  • The ability to do household maintenance and repairs.
  • Make responsible decisions.
  • Know what I am actually doing in life.

When it comes to life I just wing it. I know you will say that everyone does that but I really have no idea what I am doing. I just plod along hoping that I don’t upset of offend anyone on the way. So I am looking forward to the time that I become a responsible adult and then everything will just click into place.

I’m a Father.

What can I say? I’m the father of an amazing little boy. He has helped me understand exactly what unconditional love is all about. Any news story or film which involves a child getting hurt or killed affects me like never before. Your whole world changes when you are parent. For me it is a change for the better. I am so proud of him. Seeing his little smiling face warms my heart. I love watching him learn and grow. Being a father is amazing. I love it.

That’s about it really.

I will try and write more in the future as it is nice to look back and see how things have changed. I also find that writing can be very cathartic. I could have written a whole article on how I am almost on Level 31 on Pokemon Go for example. As you can tell I like to live my life to the fullest. So till the next time, take care.

UPDATE: I reached level 31 on Pokemon Go on 13/10/16

Rowan

I have been sat at the keyboard wondering how to start writing a blog post of a life changing event and I am at a loss. I am a father. It’s amazing. I have a little boy called Rowan who was born on Wednesday 21st January 2015 at 3:26am, weighing 7lbs 2oz. He was due today but arrived 5 days early. He is such cute little thing. I have taken so many photos of him that I think I might have exceeded my iCloud storage space. I have to stop myself from becoming one of those people on Facebook that posts 1000 photos of their child online. I can see why people do it. I am so proud of him. If you do want to see more photos you can view them here.

So how did this miracle happen? (no not that bit). The story of his birth started a week ago. Sally started having pains while we were watching Broadchurch. We weren’t sure if things had really started or not. For the last few weeks of pregnancy Sally had found it more comfortable sleeping on the sofa, so I went up to bed early that night as we knew something was going to be happening soon. At 2am Sally woke to me to say we needed to go the hospital and so I got myself up and ready. We arrived at St Richards Hospital at 3am but discovered that Sally wasn’t ready, but was allowed to stay until she was. I was sent home to get some sleep but knowing that I might get a phone call at any time sleep was far from my mind. When I arrived in hospital Tuesday there hadn’t been much change. Sally was in the Bassett Room on Tangmere Ward. still in pain and having contractions but things weren’t really moving along. At 6pm Sally was moved to Room 2 of the Labour ward where she had an epidural as she was in so much pain due to the baby being in the occiput posterior (OP) position. We waited, and waited, but there was still no sign of the little one moving round into the correct position. As time went on this started to be a bit of a concern as the contractions were squashing baby rather than pushing. At 3am Wednesday morning the consultant spoke to us about options. We could wait till he moved round, which could take a few more hours or deliver him via C-section. He gave us a few minutes to think about it but we all agreed that it would be safer for the baby to be delivered as soon as possible. They prepped Sally for theatre and a few moments later Rowan was born…IMG_0951 His first little cries were beautiful to hear. They cleaned him and wrapped him up in a towel and gave him a little hat knitted by Friends of St Richards Hospital and put him in Sally’s arms. We were so happy. There he was, little Rowan, who truly is little bundle of joy. Sally was then stitched back together and moved from theatre back to Room 2 to rest before being moved to Executive Room 7 on Tangmere Ward. We spent the rest of Wednesday at the hospital where Sally and Rowan had regular check ups. We had to cancel our Tesco home delivery as there was no chance of us coming home that day. The man on the phone from Tesco was ecstatic to here our news as well as everyone else we came in contact with. The day and night became a blur. Neither of us had really slept since Monday. Thursday morning arrived and it was another special day. Not only were we told that it was ok for Sally to go home but it was also more importantly Sally’s Birthday. Rowan was the best birthday present anyone could ask for. We put clipped him into his car seat and set off home to start our new life as a family.IMG_0990 When we got home there were a large bunch of flowers on our doorstep. Who could this be from? Family? Friends? When we read the card we couldn’t help but be moved. It was from Tesco. Let me clear this up. The flowers were from a local florist, paid for, with well wishes from Tesco… The supermarket!  How lovely is that? It must have been from the man on the phone. Thank you Tesco’s, you are amazing. It’s been 5 days now and what can I say? Things are great. Ok, he isn’t the best sleeper at the moment and likes to fill his nappy just as I have finished changing him but who cares about those things? That’s the sort of things that babies are meant to do. Most of the time he is just being cute. When I look at him I imagine all the things he must be thinking…RowanI could just watch him, hold him, cuddle him, and love him forever. In fact I think I will.

I love you little one. x

Am I a good man?

feelingsAnxiety levels are pretty high at the moment. Well I think it’s anxiety, it’s hard to tell? I have this feeling in my chest that’s warm but has a hole in it. A twisted empty space that might implode. Is that anxiety? Who knows? Emotions are funny things that don’t always make sense. Why do some people cry when they are happy? Why do some people hurt the ones they love? I have a hard time understanding.

When I am in emotional turmoil and I am trying to make sense of these feelings I can’t help but think about Doctor Who and what happens to The Doctor when he regenerates. Not only does his physical appreance change but his personality changes too. One of the best examples of this was the change from the 11th Doctor to the 12th. The 12th Doctor found himself asking his companion “Am I a good man?”.

It’s questions like this that I am always asking myself. We always like to think of ourselves as the hero. We are fair and just. If we saw someone in distress we would be there to help. However I don’t really see myself as that person. I sometimes find it hard to care and feel empathy. At times I feel like I have a dark passenger like in Dexter. My dark passenger is not a killer, just a side of me which has no compassion, no feelings, no nothing, just empty. My dark passenger really doesn’t care. He is selfish and antisocial. He is everything I hate about myself.

Most of the time I have control of the negative emotions, I ignore my dark passenger. I have the strength to be kind, caring and compassionate. But as time goes by I get the feeling that I am being false and I am aware that I am faking a smile. That’s when my dark passenger wins. He has tricked me into thinking that I was in control when it was really him all along. Other times I don’t fight it and I wallow in the emptiness. It is a constant internal struggle. Is my dark passager the true me? Am I evil, or am I really a good man?

National Poetry Day

It is national poetry day today so I am going to post a cheesy poem that I wrote when I was a young teenager. It was published in a book of short poems and appeared on Ceefax (remember Ceefax?).

I made my mind to dance and play
People don’t respect the things we say
From the skin of your T-shirt
To the Crown of Thorns
A little boy with crazy dreams
A lot of goals… 

I then wrote a second part to it but I can’t remember passed the first 2 lines…

Dreams are written with woven thread
Imprints in a childs head
 
(blah, blah, blah, something, something)

It’s amazing the things we can remember off by heart. I still remember the song I had to sing when I was a Oompa Loompa in a school play of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The way my teacher put across how important it was for us to remember lines was by telling us the story of when she was in the second world war and all the children in her class had to remember the serial number of their gas masks and where it was at all times. If they didn’t know, and the bombs fell, they might die! I was five. That story put so much fear into me that I learnt my lines off by heart, just incase the bombs fell and I would need to sing to the enemy…

Augustus Gloop! Augustus Gloop!
That great big greedy nincompoop!
How long could we allow this beast
To gorge and guzzle, feed and feast
On everything he wanted to?
Great Scott! It simply will not do.
So what we do in cases such
As this, we use the gentle touch
And carefully we take the brat
And turn him into something that
Will give great pleasure to us all
A doll, for instance, or a ball.
Or marbles or a rocking horse.
But this revolting boy, of course,
Is so unutteralby vile,
So greedy, foul, and infantile.
“Come on!” We cry. “The time is ripe
To send him shooting up the pipe!”

 (please take note that I know that these are not the exact words that Roald Dahl wrote but they were the words that we learnt… Well, I hope they are the words we learnt… If they aren’t and the bombs do fall, I’m in trouble.)