I’m Going Back To Uni

I know, everyone’s probably screaming at me.

  1. Where in the world have you been?!
  2. Why on earth would you go back to Uni after your last experience?!

I get it, especially considering the sheer amount of convincing it took to get my parents and various consultants on board. But this is what I want, or well, need I suppose.

In all honesty, I know that it seems like the most illogical choice I could have made, given I’m still going into anaphylactic shock about twice a week, and that my legs still completely loose feedback and collapse under me. But I’ve gotten trapped in a particularly tangled web of depression and anxiety in my 9 months out of uni, despite being at home in an understanding and safe environment.

This web though? A lot more nefarious than I initially realised. I’d thought it had been one of my usual dips…but boy was I wrong.

Nothing really mattered to me anymore, dark thoughts of suicide and self harm reared their heads once more, almost every day, and I was so tempted to give in, which I haven’t been in a while. It’s not like anything catastrophic happened either, it was just that my emotional responses were so strong, and being on the spectrum, obviously it’s hard to pick apart, identify, and consequently deal with ones emotions. I’d see reason after I’d slept on the thoughts and feelings, but it felt like I was being emotionally yanked in one direction and then another. It’s as if my own mind was giving me a horrid case of emotional whiplash.

It’s not 100% gone, it’s cleared up ~30-40%, but it has been better since I’ve been preparing to go back to Uni.

I think that my mind and body needs structure, space, and a challenge. I hate not being in an institute of learning, it’s why I had never once considered of taking a gap year between sixth form and my BSc.

So now, with my Masters, I think I’ll be able to get everything back into check; despite what everyone around me seems to think. Having my own space, segregated away from others is also helpful, as it allows me to have privacy to recharge and not have to see people if I don’t want to (thank god for en-suites and mini fridges!).

Don’t get my wrong though, people are willing to support me -family, friends and doctors/professionals alike- if this is my decision. They just don’t seem to agree with said decision.

But I’ve come to understand something about myself; I need rigidity, structure, and routine. And not the kind of routine and structure I can put in place myself whilst at home, but the kind of structure that is part of a bigger whole.

This lager structure makes me feel connected, even if I’m not directly interacting with anyone. I wake up with a sense of purpose and things I need to do, which makes the things I like doing more rewarding and enjoyable.

I may be wrong, this may not be the best idea, but this time round I’m just going to enjoy my studying, and not work myself into the ground. I want to have the university experience that I feel I should have had all along.

Hopefully I’ll be posting more regularly, but I’m not making any promises 😂

I hope everyone is well, and as always, have a great day!

Sasha x

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Is This Right?

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Preconceived ideas and judgements don’t just lay in the hands of the uninformed general public;

“Autism carries a very variable prognosis; there might be a slight increase in mortality in the first 30 years of life. A small, but not negligible, minority of people with autism lead productive, self-supporting adult lives, but about two-thirds will remain dependent on others throughout life. The risk of epilepsy is very high, both in early childhood and adolescence. An important minority deteriorate in adolescence. Outcome in autistic-like conditions is even more variable, ranging from excellent in many cases of so-called Asperger syndrome to gloomy in most cases of so-called disintegrative disorders.”

This is a legitimate psychological journal, published and approved.

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So-called?

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What is this so-called of which you speak, Professor Gillberg? And why on earth -being in charge of a Department of Pediatrics and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry- are you being so deterministic? Our ‘prognosis’ (and I do not say ‘our’ by means of segregating those with Autism from those without, but to show a united front against those that are hell-bent on either ostracising us, or calling us ‘fakers’) is what we make it. With the right support system, those with Autism flourish and have a good quality of life, but it is those who try to manipulate, exclude, or ridicule us that make it nearly impossible for us to see any semblance of happy normality, doing the things everyone else takes for granted.

It’s not all ‘gloomy’

Something I’ve learnt? That judgemental people like to point out flaws, rather than seeing them as differences. Quick storytime; when I was 16, sat across from my umpteenth psychiatrist, she explained Autism to me; specifying Asperger’s and that end of the spectrum. I realised what she was saying, and I realised what this meant for me – that I wasn’t alone, that I wasn’t a freak, that I wasn’t broken. I’d looked at her shoulder (we were working on eye contact, and I’d managed to get all the way up to look at her left shoulder), and clarified; “So, I’m different, not defective?” And since that day, it’s been my personal motto. My point is, yes, some traits of Autism are different, but they aren’t wrong.

Take my sensory sensitivity, yes, I can become overwhelmed and overloaded, but I can also tell you if the coffee in the canteen has just been brewed, or if there’s a squirrel on the back fence and so not to let the dog out just yet, I can even hear the postman walking on the gravel from my room and can get my mother to open the door before he rings the bell and startles either the dogs or my brother.

It isn’t all bad.

So those that see our differences as flaws, seem to not realise that a lot of what they enjoy and think innovative or useful today came from those that were different, those who were different and thought differently. It’s just a different way of being, and it comes with different difficulties.

It’s all about balance.

If something is extraordinary, they’ll be an extraordinary disadvantage to it as well. Think about it, every hero has a weak point, even a rose has its thorns. Average is a flat line, but to have something more, some other aspect will be affected. I’m agnostic, but I do think there’s merit in Job’s comment in that “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away” (1:21), what we now commonly utter as ‘What God gives with one hand he takes with the other’. I’m not going to get into the religious aspects of that, but what I want to take from it is that there is no good without bad, or light without darkness. Our life is contrast, and to be different is nothing more than an alternative set of ‘default’ difficulties in life, which are added to and lessened by our own experiences and choices.

I may be overreacting, but this isn’t right.

I can forgive someone uninformed, I really can. What I can’t forgive is someone in a position of authority, a position where they teach others. It’s a dangerous power for some to wield.

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We only need to take one look at Milgrims Electric Shock Experiment, or Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment, to see the repercussions a mere position can hold, given what the person holding said position is willing to do with it. Those with such reach need to be mindful of what they say, of what they spread. Think of who it is hurting, whose minds it’s influencing. Did it cross the Professors mind of who of those he’d ‘informed’ went on to use that information and knowledge to do harm rather than help to others?

So many doctors have been supportive and understanding in my experience, but a handful have not. And it makes me wonder if they were taught by someone like this, someone dubious and unwilling to accept, and thus be prepared to help.

I know this is a little more of a serious post from me, but I’m interested, what’s your take on the topic? Do you think it’s okay for scholarly journals like this to be released? Or do you think that science and literature should be as unbiased as possible? Personally, I think there’s more harm in publishing something like this, with this kind of tone, that any good it does in terms of informing the discipline of psychology. No one can be completely unbiased, I know this, but there’s no need to be this…derisive. Anywho, let me know.

I hope everyone is doing well, and thanks for reading,

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Sasha x

 

P.S. Here’s the citation of the journal, if anyone is interested.

Gillberg, C., 1991. Outcome in Autism and Autistic-like Conditions. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, May, 30(3), pp. 375-382.

 

Unexpected Suprise

Unexpected? Sort of. Serendipitous? Most definitely not. Let me explain.

So I had the paramedics out on Monday night due to going into anaphylactic shock (I know, a great way to spend my evening *sarcasm*). I’d used a new shampoo and I broke out in urticaria (an allergic reaction that presents as rashes, hives, etc). Though I suffer from both urticaria and angioedema (the later being allergic reactions which present as swelling within the layers of skin), my urticaria presentation has been nearly completely controlled by taking at least 40mg of cetirizine a day. But recently that hasn’t been the case.

When the rashes began to develop again, I wasn’t too alarmed. Yes, they’re painful and itchy, but I’ve never had a rash that resulted in my throat closing and my going into anaphylaxis. I figured we needed to change my treatment and I needed to go back to London for a review, but that it wasn’t a life-threatening change. The angioedema has always been the reaction type that resulted in throat swelling and closing and then having to use the epi-pen (a shot of adrenaline through a needle which is used to reverse the effects of anaphylactic shock, reducing swelling and rectifying blood pressure). For me, the two types of reaction have always been completely separate, so I would know if I needed to have an epi-pen handy just in case, or not.

But it seems my reactions aren’t behaving how I’ve come to expect them to.

Not only are they now faster and more aggressive, but it also appears that there is no separation between my urticaria reactions and my angioedema reactions, they now both play off one another.

So when I had a bout of urticaria, I took some extra cetirizine in syrup form and got into bed, letting my parents know but none of us even entertaining the possibility of needing an epi-pen because this was urticaria, not angioedema. But the rashes spread, and soon they covered my chest and throat. I noticed this after about ten minutes after taking the cetirizine and was just about to take more when my throat began to constrict, and my tongue because feeling larger at the sides. Just as my lip began to swell I noticed my throat walls already felt as if they were touching, and this was faster than I’d come to expect. My dad walked past and I went to call him but couldn’t, I couldn’t speak. Luckily he was coming to check on me anyway, and quickly went grab my mum who is trained in anaphylaxis.

I saw his retreating back and then I felt the swelling intensify, I tried to fill my chest with air, but I couldn’t get any in at all. I fought to stay calm, knowing panicking wasn’t going to help me at all. It felt like time slowed down as I counted the seconds as they ticked by, one minute passed and I was vaguely away of my parents around me.

Everything sounded so far away, the edges of my vision dark. It was then I think we all realised what was happening, that this was anaphylaxis and we’d left it later to administer the epi-pen than we ever had before.

I barely felt to needle and my mother administered the epi-pen.

Relief didn’t come quickly; it took much longer for me to recover from this attack that my previous ones. But I could get tiny amounts of air in, even if it was infrequently and jagged. 111 wanted an ambulance out, so they came quickly and made quick work of checking me over.

Though the swelling seemed to be subsiding nicely, I wasn’t as responsive as they’d like, and they wanted me to go into hospital for observation in case of Biphasic anaphylaxis (wherein you have a second attack up to hours after, when the adrenaline has worn off and you aren’t expecting it).

But the issue is, I react to stress.

I know that sounds ridiculous, but my reactions are largely idiopathic, but we know a few triggers for sure: increased stress, changing temperature, and prolonged vibrations. So being autistic and having social and general anxiety, sitting in the hospital is not going to help. So I was allowed to stay at home as I’ve never had a biphasic reaction but I had to sign that I understood that it was against their wishes.

They were checking me over, just to make sure there were no signs of needing to take me into hospital. Temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, ECG, blood sugar, eyes, throat etc. But they weren’t happy with my heart readings.

This isn’t anything new, every medical professional I’ve seen in hospitals or paramedics have always noted that my heart rate was ‘tacky’ and my blood pressure low. But this time, it was enough for the paramedic to say I needed to see my doctor, be checked for potassium, and have it looked into.

So surprise! Not only are my reactions going rogue, but this thing everyone’s been mentioning in passing actually needs to be dealt with.

So we went to the doctor. We talked about my insomnia and hypersomnia, my pain and the new medications I’m on for managing it, all the usual. And then came up the epi-pen use. I’m being referred back to an allergy clinic, but am not going back to Great Ormond Street just yet, we see what they have to say first. We gave my Go the ECG print out and told them what the paramedics had mentioned, and I was hooked up for blood pressure and pulse checks.

So it was ‘normal’ for me, but not so ‘normal’ in terms of what was considered healthy and normal. The finger clip measured me at 116 (bpm) over 60 (SpO2), and my blood pressure was low, as I expected.

Apparently, this ‘tacky’ heart rate was referring to tachycardia, and my ECG readings, in particular, were showing sinus tachycardia.

Tachycardia: Tachycardia is a common type of heart rhythm disorder (arrhythmia) in which the heart beats faster than normal while at rest. – MayoClinic.org

Sinus Tachycardia: Sinus tachycardia refers to a faster-than-usual heart rhythm. Your heart has a natural pacemaker called the sinus node, which generates electrical impulses that move through your heart muscle and cause it to contract, or beat. Normal sinus rhythm typically results in a heart rate of 60 to 100 beats per minute. – HeathLine.com

For sinus tachycardia, my P wave readout from the ECG would have not been rounded before every QRS complex, but upright instead, and my heart rate higher than the norm of 60-100. And this was what was printed out on the readout.

I’m having the blood test for potassium in under a week, and I also need to have a scan done of my heart.

I don’t feel any palpitations (other than when I’m anxious) and don’t have any pain, so fingers crossed it’s all okay; but I have had this for years and nothing has ever happened, so I’m sure it’s just another quirk if my body I’m just now understanding.

Anyway, we all just have to keep marching on. In the words of Winston Churchill: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

I hope everyone has a great day!

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Sasha x

Remember all those well laid plans?

Ah the way the cookie crumbles (yes, I did look up that idiom and am now using it excessively)…all those plans I had back in August? Nope.

I mean, I still graduated, and I did get a 1st in my BSc degree…but the health improvements? Not so much.

I tried exercising again, and went into this horrid almost catatonic state; I was sleeping for 16 hours a day and unable to move without being in such bad pain.

These sensations weren’t uncommon for me, but never did they last months continuously, nor was I in pain in every. single. joint. all. the. damn. time.

Meanwhile, Christmas comes around (a naturally stressful time for those of us with Autism and Social Anxiety) and I started getting pains in my stomach again. I thought it could be another stone, but boy was I wrong.

I was in hospital less than 12hours after this pain appeared, screaming in pain, in cold sweat, getting so dizzy and almost passing out, unable to even stand. Turns out I had a dermoid cyst on my left ovary that needed emergency operation.

It came on so fast, and they didn’t know how close it was to rupturing, and thus being immediately life threatening. They also couldn’t tell how much damage it had done to the ovary, if it had been twisted and needed to be removed.

I know I have two ovaries, but the prospect of losing one at age 21 scared me so much; I want children, I’ve always wanted to be a mama one day, heck, I specialised in developmental psychology! Children are precious to me, and I wanted to choice and opportunity to be able to make, love and care for a child I bore.

The cyst was removed successfully, and luckily there was no damage to the ovary it was attached to despite its size.

The cyst itself was a dermoid cyst, Meaning it’s present since birth and the result of abnormal growth of leftover embryonic cells. They’re usually small and harmless, but if they keep growing like mine, it can seriously harm the tissue it’s attached to, become cancerous, or even rupture and poison the body.

Ovarian dermoid cysts have added risk in that they can weigh down the ovary and twist it, cutting off blood supply, and thus killing the ovary. Best case scenario in this case (I was told) was that the dead ovary could be removed with hopefully no other affected areas, but if there were other affected areas I had to sign to say the surgeons were permitted to remove those as well. Luckily nothing had to be removed at all, but I was (and still am) astounded that such serious repercussions could come from something that I only felt for less than 48 hours.

I had my operation on Christmas Eve. Needless to say, Christmas Day was quite challenging, despite my lovely and understanding family.

So roughly 3.5 months later, I’m here and only really starting to be able to fully stretch my abdomen out again, even though it feels weak and hurts.

But guess what happened in that recovery period? Remember that pain and lethargy I was feeling? Turns out I had undiagnosed fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Looks like I have a tendency for late diagnoses.

So that’s been an eye opener, and knowing what I’m dealing with has really helped manage things. But still, I’m disappointed that in five months I’m back at Uni for my MSc and I feel like I’m made no progress with my health.

  • I still haven’t contacted that martial arts instructor back.
  • I still haven’t unpacked my uni boxes.
  • I still haven’t finished those Udemy courses I started.
  • Nor have I read all the textbooks I wanted to.
  • I still haven’t finished organising my desk and clothes.
  • I still can’t go out by myself.
  • I still can’t walk my dog on my own.
  • I’ve still used over ten epi pens in 2019.
  • I’ve still not managed to get into a ‘normal’ sleeping pattern.
  • I’m still struggling with depression, anxiety, pain, insomnia, and hypersomnia.
  • I can’t seem to post regularly anywhere.
  • I can’t regularly do anything.
  • I can’t do all the things I want to do, instead I do nothing.
  • I want to draw more but can’t; be it due to pain or my own mental state getting in the way.

Bottom line…

I’m just so sick of feeling like I’m not living my life how I want to, or to my fullest potential. Actually, I don’t even need ‘fullest potential’ I just want to be able to do the things I want to, the things I love. But instead I do essentially nothing productive at all.

Any advice on getting your life in order? Or at least making oneself feel fulfilled?

I’m aware of the ACE system (achievement, challenge, and enjoyment), and I’ve been trying to implement that in order to boost my mood/quality of life…but it’s just not having as much of an effect as it did initially for me.

Let me know if you have any ideas or advice, I’d really appreciate it.

I hope everyone has a great day,

Sasha x

I’m Graduating!

I feel like I’ve had to claw my way here with my (non-existent) fingernails, but I’m graduating!

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So many times have lectures, medical professionals, counsellors, parents and friends told me to just drop out (I’ve honestly lost count)…but I made it.

Sure, I’m a little worse for wear, but I made it.

I know everyone had my best interests at heart when they suggested I leave Uni, but it was never an option for me. I have this incessant pressure that I admittedly put on myself to never fail, totally something I’m going to work on.

Which nicely leads me onto my plans for this coming year. Obviously, I had that kidney stone, and it fell right in the middle of all my coursework deadlines and end of year exams, so I’m graduating in December rather than this August. I was accepted into my Master’s programme months ago, and was (again) advised to put it off a year until I could get my health in order, and I wasn’t going to, but now I don’t have a choice. I can’t start a degree without finishing my last one.

But I’m expected to get a 1st class degree, and I’m happy that I can still achieve that despite all that’s happened medically for me.

Now to start the journey towards a better me…

In the 9 months off from Uni my aim is to try my very hardest to get myself back into a good place. I have the time now, and hopefully the energy as well; starting with getting back into exercise, hopefully, martial arts again. A lovely instructor reached out to me whilst I was recovering from my stone, and I was so frazzled and overwhelmed that I didn’t reply at the time…but I think I can now. I would love to get back into it, and I really think I need this.

I’m not religious, despite my upbringing, but I can be spiritual, and right now I feel like my soul needs a refresh and restart…kinda like a reboot after a PC update.

I want to start the journey to being the best me I can be, the best version of myself, and first things first, is to acknowledge the issues I’m having. Maybe I’ll write about some of them in detail, or my past with them if anyone thinks it would help them, it might even help me to get some of it out. I’ll jot them below;

Diagnosed and Dealing With;

  • Aspergers (obviously xD),
  • Anxiety,
  • Depression,
  • Insomnia,
  • PTSD,
  • Pain,
  • Chronic Stress,
  • Patience and Anger Problems,
  • Self-Harm,
  • Vaso Vagal Episodes,
  • Sensory Processing Difficulties,
  • Proprioceptive Difficulties,
  • Chronic Deficiencies,
  • Urticaria and Angioedema (autoimmune disorders),
  • Muscle Wastage,
  • Joint and Muscle Pain,
  • Kidney Stone and Hydration Issues,
  • Icepick Headaches, Migraines, and Tension Headaches.

Currently under investigation:

  • Has my previous Rheumatoid factor positive gone from being asymptomatic to symptomatic?
  • Lupus?
  • Autoimmune disorders worsening?
  • Where to go now in terms of Anxiety and Depression; tried every medication, on max dosage of the one that worked best for me, but still not functioning at a normal everyday level?
  • Joints are incredibly weak, only maintaining muscle in my legs and slightly in my abdomen. Shoulders, back, and all joints have lost much muscle mass. Why?

There’s probably something I’ve missed -there always is- but that’s a good place to start I think.

Let me know if you want me to talk about anything!

Have a great day everyone,

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Sasha x

Why I’ve Been M.I.A

This year was meant to be a lot better than it’s turned out to be, and I’ve tried to turn it around with everything I had in me…but if anything, I think it’s worse.

Daily I’m contemplating the worth of it all, spending hours talking myself out of thoughts I haven’t had this strongly since the end of Secondary school and Sixth Form.

It’s my final year of my degree (so a lot of work and stress), and I’ve worked hard to keep my grades in the high 80s and 90s; but my health has just kept deteriorating. All I was seeing was grades, and I let my health both mental and physical become vulnerable and fragile. But that would have been manageable, I’ve burnt myself out before…it’s horrible, but manageable. What I wasn’t expecting was for people to be so volatile, selfish and childish; making my health worse just because they could, just because they wanted to.

It makes me so mad. It makes me want to have them pay for what they’ve done. Is this ever going to stop? The horrible actions of others? They’re the Neurotypical ones! And right now I think I’m being more understanding than they’ve ever been in their lives. People are so selfish…why do I bother? Why do I bother with it at all? Interacting. Being kind. Giving the benefit of the doubt. Why?

Why should I?

And all of this has resulted in mass muscle loss, significant worsening in my depression, anxiety, insomnia, deficiencies and autoimmune conditions, and I got a kidney stone, a huge one.

I can feel and see bones all over my body, I can’t sleep without a pillow between my knees as their boney structure pressing against each other hurts and bruises. Speaking of bruises, I’m covered in them. I can’t seem to do anything because I’m tired of it all and just want to be in bed all day. If I do get up I spend every waking second keeping my thoughts in line and away from dark topics that I need to keep away from. I’m constantly anxious and jittery. I’m on the highest dose of medication I can be, and I have medication practically pouring from my ears. I’m reacting to everything, anaphylactic level reactions; an Epi-pen a week for the majority of the last few months, more at some points.

And this damn stone!

They say a small stone (average is about 2mm) as painful as childbirth, but worse still because your body doesn’t produce any chemicals to take the edge off and you don’t have a lovely epidural on hand. Well, mine was 8mm in the end, and had gotten stuck in my Ureter. I wasn’t eating or drinking properly, but this was exacerbated by my stress and both contributed to the stone. Do you know who gets stones, epidemiologically speaking? Middle-aged overweight white males. I’m the opposite of all of those, and yet here I am. It was a wake-up call, but more will come in a dedicated post if I decide to do one.

But until then, stay safe and speak soon,

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Sasha x

The Pain of Medication Change

 

So your medication isn’t working as effectively as it used to, you’re on the top possible dosage of it, and still, you feel unstable. Better than when on a lower dosage, or worse still, no medication at all. But the be all end all, is it isn’t enough.

I was in this position, and given my recent diagnosis of PTSD, my GP and I agreed it would be best to switch medication. So that’s what I’ve been doing, dropping the dosage by a third for a week at a time, until today, when I started the first of my new medication. Granted, I need to work it up incrementally, but I’m so glad to be done with the reducing the dosage of my initial meds.

It’s just so counter intuitive to me to willingly decrease that medication that keeps me within my own control, within my means of keeping a handle on everything. I understand that I can’t just come off any kind of medication, I do. But darn it if I don’t hate that feeling of coming unraveled.

I could literally feel myself becoming more emotional, then no emotion, then so completely depressed I was comatose for days. It was horrible, and I had to just keep decreasing anyway.

So many times was I tempted to just up it back to where I was and just deal with the extra added things it wasn’t helping with. But I didn’t, I stuck it out. But it wasn’t without its spontaneous breakdowns throughout. At one point I was going to drive, whilst not being able to feel my legs, just because I was adamant I was fine…when I wasn’t.

Oh and then there was the crying over everything, feeling like it was a huge thing, and then when talking it through, not wanting to talk anymore at all. As if it never mattered anyway. Urgh, so frustrating. I literally annoyed myself, lord knows how anyone was putting up with me.

Luckily, I’ve got a very supportive family and partner, and they always have the time to make me feel loved and safe; a pretty hard feat when it feels like you brain is attacking itself 24/7.

But if you don’t feel like you are supported, no matter what circumstance, there are always places to go where you can be heard and supported. The Samaritans have always been a go to me, and I’d implore you to check them out if you feel like you’re not in a good place at the moment. Go here to skip straight to sign up.

Be safe my lovelies, and speak soon,

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Sasha x

Eye Opener

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Nothing But Thieves – Emergency

Everyone had said it. Everyone had warned me; doctors, family, friends, consultants, teachers, support workers…and I didn’t believe them.

It started with concerned looked and questions about my health and well-being, and at first, I thought they were just being cautious. And I thought I had it all under control…I really did.

Externally I thought and felt like I was doing a good job; I interacted, I left the house, I didn’t cry myself to sleep….I thought I was doing alright, despite recent events.

I guess what everyone else saw was my health deteriorating, my weight dropping, my strength diminishing, and my collapses becoming nearly daily occurrences. The paramedics knew me on sight for goodness sake!

So when I went downstairs after dozing on my bed at around 2:30am on tuesday, I knew I needed to get food. I couldn’t see straight, and I felt weak. I’d eaten before bed, as a precaution to avoid this, but I guess when your heart rate sticks well above 100bpm, your body never rests.

I remember getting to the kitchen, and feeling so overwhlemed with all the loose ends.

The discrimination case, moving into my uni house, in the midst of changing my medication dosage, not knowing if I’d be safe at university this year…

The list just kept reeling, and then the pipes made a noise. I knew the noise, it was familiar, I’d heard it for nearly all my life…but in that moment, it was the last drop to overfill the glass.

I collapsed, and wouldn’t come round.

An oxygen mask was strapped to my face and I remember fighting so hard to open my eyes. But unlike usual, I felt too far removed from my own body to command it to do anything, I felt like none of my orders were going through.

I could hear the paramedics, but I felt as if I was just listening to a tape, rather than actually being there. In my mind’s eye I was clawing at my own mind, trying to get it to respond, but it wouldn’t. And eventually, I just felt hopeless.

The oxygen -they kept saying- was meant to help, that’d I’d begin responding soon…but I didn’t. Little did they know how hard I was trying to.

It got to the point where I didn’t think I was going to be able to open my eyes ever again. And I realised in that moment that I wasn’t okay, I was putting on the front I’d learnt from a young age. The same front that hides my social and sensory difficulties to the best of my ability.

My front was my pride and joy, it always has been.

But that front had me shoving everything so far down that I completely missed the signs of this, and now it might be too late.

I wanted to cry, I wanted the pressure in my chest to ease, the tightness of my throat to release. I wanted to breathe easily and on my own. But I might not be able to because I’d been stupid enough to think I knew what I was doing.

I thought I knew myself and my body better than anyone else. 

Never have I been further from the truth.

I came round hours later; I had limited sight, no speech, and no limb response from either legs, one shoulder, both forearms, and one hand. The paramedics left at 6am (around half an hour after I opened my eyes), albeit a little begrudgingly (I had nodded vigorously when asked if I felt okay, and shook it so hard my ears popped when they asked if I’d consent to going to the hospital). They’d respected my wishes, and I knew that now my eyes were open I could handle myself, at least a little.

Later that day, my disability officer and those she consulted vetoed my choice to take my exam that day. They really felt that I was in no state to take an exam, that they couldn’t let me do it. I’d conceeded eventually, but later I was informed that in not taking the exam I wouldn’t be able to proceed to year 3 of my degree. And that was a no-go.

I’d emailed, even rang (in what world do I ever use the phone?!), and eventually turned up and sat the exam, despite not being able to think, walk well, or talk fully. My hands couldn’t even type properly. But I didn’t care, I just had to do enough to pass, and my grades are usually comfortably in the 90%, so I could sacrafice half of that and still be in the clear. I just needed to write something.

And I did. 

I took that exam, and the ones in the days to come, and all was fine. Nothing drastic happened, my mother returned from Spain, I got most of my uni house sorted and set up…and yet, I still feel so fragile.

I should feel happy, strong; my exams came back, the ones I didn’t take this past week, and I got in the upper 90% in all of them, which I’m happy about considering I passed out in several of them. But it doesn’t feel like an achievement, it doesn’t feel like anything.

I don’t know, maybe I’m just thinking about everything in such a twisted way that nothing good is filtering in, and all the bad has a free pass.

We’ll see, I’m going to try and get into the uni house and have some independence, hopefully that will make me feel like I can trust myself again. Though for the first few days one of my parents will be staying in the house with me, just so that they know I’m okay, and hopefully the fall detector will be put in place by then.

Until next time,

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Sasha x

This Is Getting Out Of Hand

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When I started this blog, I wanted to reach out and connect to people like me, but also those not like me. I just want everyone to be able to at least try and understand everyone else…

But what started as a something I wanted to do to reach out and help others, has turned out to be my emotional crutch.

I never thought that it would be this cathartic, but it is. So that is why I come here today, with an update of sorts.

If you’ve read my recent posts, you’ll know that I’ve been dealing with some pretty severe discrimination, and that it’s been affecting my mental and physical health. But now, this has progressed.

PTSD. 

That is what I’ve having to be treated for.

I’ve always thought as it as a soldiers disorder. I never would have considered that this whole situation is having a comparable effect on my mental health as a first hand experience of warfare. In some ways, I feel bad. Guilty even.

I don’t deserve to even say that I’ve suffering from PTSD. What our soldiers do, what they go through? That is so so much more horrifying than my run in with some staff and students.

It makes me doubt my strength as a person to be honest.

At the beginning of this year, I started to have my self confidence really stabilise for the first time in my life. I felt like I was strong for getting through what I had, and that even though the memories themselves weren’t pleasant, I was trialed through fire, so to speak. And I came out burned, but alive.

But now, I doubt that. 

I am not strong, not if this can break me. I could never go to war and keep my sanity, not if this is all it take to tear me down.

But then, part of me is screaming that this whole situation isn’t just some ‘incident’, it’s so much more to me. It has me questioning my place in this world, the effort I put in, especially if this is what I get. The point of the pain, of the trying so hard everyday just to be. And to all the questions I have few answers…but the one answer that keeps cropping up is to simply…give up.

I’m getting help for those thoughts, back to receiving therapy. Back to analysing my every thought, my every feeling, just to try and control them. Who decided that CBT was good for Aspie’s anyway? You ask me something scientific and mathematical, like how to design the perfect experiment for a nice neat three by two ANOVA analysis, and I’m in my element. Ask me what I’m feeling and I what thoughts came with that, and I’m dumbstruck.

I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so helpless. I’ve done this all before. I’ve been here before.

And despite all my intervention, despite my continuous effort, not only do I feel just as bad, I feel worse. 

What’s the frickin’ point!

I can’t walk properly anymore, my hair is falling out in clumps. I can’t go long without collapsing from stress. My heart rate is constantly over 100bpm, I feel tired and depressed all the time. And peaking through that is crippling anxiety that I can never control, just wait out.

I don’t want to. I don’t want to keep doing this. What kind of life is this? I’ve tried to change it, will all my heart…and I’ve only ended up in a worse place.

Why? Why are people like this?

I can’t think for all the aching and pain in my chest, I can’t. I don’t want to. Not anymore.

But I have to…

No one else can go through this. If this can happen to me, after all the intervention and techniques I’ve had taught to me, then I dread the day someone who hasn’t, who is less equipped, has to deal with this. Hopefully they won’t have to, not when I’ve had my say.

This is not okay. This is never okay. 

Discrimination will stop, and I will do my bit, even if it kills me.

Until next time,

Sasha x