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

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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 kind and forgiving and 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 me, 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.

I’ll have more details up soon, and a few lessons that I’ve learnt and want to share.

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

The Dirty Underbelly of Discrimination.

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In the past, until they proved otherwise, I would never give anyone my respect. But I would, however, give them the benefit of the doubt; I would assume that they were a good person, even if their immediate behaviour or words seemed to insinuate otherwise.

I wish I never had. I wish I’d stuck to my gut instinct and waited for people to prove their good nature. But that was ‘bad’ of me, it was ‘harsh’ for me to make people do that. And now I am here, taken advantage of and, for the first time in my life, feeling like the ‘vulnerable adult’ I’ve been labeled as.

Never have I ever liked to think of myself as disabled; yes, some parts of having an ASD, as well as other health conditions, can be disabling…but I never really thought I was disabled, not in the sense that I was defective. I saw myself a different, but never ‘wrong’. And now I have an overwhelming urge to hide myself from the world and everyone in it. My trust has been shaken even in those that I have no reason to doubt, and I feel horrible. I hate myself for feeling like I can’t trust them when they’ve done nothing wrong, but the actions of a few have me doubting my presence in their world. Because that’s what it is, after all.

Yes, it’s likely that a neurologically diverse individual fathomed the constructs on which our society is based, but it is the neurotypicals that run this society in their masses. And I have never felt so vulnerable and out of place as I do now.

I feel lesser, I feel my worth is diminished to them. 

I’m not a cryer, but then again I’ve never had an issue that I’m upset over that doesn’t have a logical solution. Now I’m faced with people that hold strong their opinions against those different to them, and they will not listen to reason. I’ve cried almost every day this last week…initially, I had no idea what was happening, but then my frustration at the whole situation became apparent and I realised crying was a release for feeling so helplessly trapped.

Doubt over who I am and what I stand for have ravaged me into not sleeping at all for the last 5 days, going on 6. I can close my eyes, but I do not sleep, I think and think and think. Rumination has always been a bad habit of mine, but there is nothing else I can do. Not that I can think my way through this situation. It’s not logical. They are not logical.

Thoughts have surfaced about the point of all of this, why put myself through this to fit into a world that doesn’t want me in it. And for the longest time, pushing myself into the world has been my way of reminding myself I will never be like them, the neurotypicals.

Now, I’m just tired or trying so hard…only to have it amount to nothing. No. Worse than nothing, it has amounted in my losing my self-worth, my reputation, my health, my life.

I don’t see an end to this. I don’t see this getting better.

I’m feeling worse. The more it drags out, the more meetings that take place…all of it contributing to the continuous deterioration of my mental and physical health, the lapse in my studies. I don’t know how much longer I can hold out. I don’t feel like I have anything to hold onto as it is.

But then I can take a step back and breath. In for 7 and out for 7.

I have done nothing wrong.

Why should I feel this way when I’ve done nothing but be considerate and accommodating. When I’ve tried everything in my power to make others happy and at home, and not because I want anything out of it (like certain pertaining individuals). No, I don’t want appreciation, but I also do not want this all thrown back in my face and to be futile.

I’ve suffered for 5 months, but no more.

 Until next time,

Sasha x

 

Its Been a While

Hello interweb! Long time no type!

It’s silly really; I’ve been feeling all kinds of awful, and avoided the only real support network I have that lives through this kind of thing too. Silly. Very silly.

I don’t know what made me do something so stupid, usually my decisions are thought through and reasoned…but not recently. I’ve just been going on gut instinct, and if I don’t want to do something, I won’t.

That’s silly as well, I’ve worked hard to get out of my stubborn habits, and I don’t really want to regress at all. But at the same time, I’m wondering what on earth is the point in even bothering anymore?

Disclaimer here: I’m in a not so great place at the moment, and if you think reading about that is going to somehow detriment you and your own well-being, please do click away now, they’ll be other posts and nothing I have to write is going to be groundbreaking, honestly…I’d rather everyone be happy and safe ^-^

The complaint I filed through the university came back a week or so ago, and the result was pathetic to say the least. None of the falsified information has been retracted, or even apologised for being said in the first place. None of the discriminatory behaviour had been reprimanded or even acknowledged. My health deterioration due to the whole ordeal doesn’t even seem to matter as they don’t seem to think it’s sizable enough. What do they want me to do? Die?

Is that what it would take for anyone to see how much this is taking out of me?

I don’t know how much longer I can personally hold out, both emotionally and physically. I’m collapsing about every other day now, and my speech will become robotic and stiff once a day on average. It feels like my body is shutting down on me…and I can’t blame it really.

None of this makes any sense to me, and I don’t know if I have the strength to do what I need to, what I want to.

If they won’t acknowledge they’ve done something wrong, then I’ll find someone who will, and this time it won’t be internal, it won’t involve the university itself. It would involve the law.

can’t have this happen to someone else, I just can’t. But in order for that to happen, I have to face that this isn’t going to end yet, that I have to keep feeling this way, that I can’t just run and hide from it.

The university has offered the next stage to the complaint process, which is meant to be if you weren’t satisfied with the initial ruling of your complaint (which I’m obviously not)…but I don’t know if there’s any point in bothering with it, not if they’re just going to try and cover their own bums again.

trusted them. I trusted them to sort this, I put all my faith into their ability to at least ease the problem, but it’s just gotten worse. They’re meant to be here to safeguard me, to support me…and if anything they’re the ones inducing these thoughts and feelings which terrify me. Why am I even considering things so dark? I know there are things to live for. I know there are better things to come. I know I want to be there for them.

But the prospect of having to sustain this state, this state of so much emotional turmoil is…practically unbearable.

For now, I’m pretty much trying to suppress it as much as possible, but I can feel it lingering there, like an elephant pressing on my chest and shoulders, like a cloudy fog in my head. It takes so much effort just to move, to type even…

This is all so stupid.

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Sasha x

Slumpity Slump Slum

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I have so many drafts for posts guys, so many. But I can’t for the life of me finish any of them.

It’s like the topics are too heavy, too emotionally draining to get out. But I think I need to get them out, so that they aren’t so substantial to me anymore. It’s a stupid vicious cycle and I hate it.

What would usually take me 2 hours to complete (work-wise) is taking me 20. What would usually be uncomfortable but manageable, is now so overwhelmingly stressful that I feel like I can’t deal with it, or anything else, ever again. This is all so unproductive and it’s come at the most inopportune time (slog of essays and reports due in, followed by exam season), which just adds to the stress.

I don’t know, I just feel like I’m stuck. 

Without going into too much detail, the situation at University has escalated beyond belief. Now, not only are students being discriminatory and abusive towards me, but so are the staff. It’s horrible, it’s all horrible. My mum has been in contact with social services, and the council who have each have a really nice lady assigned to me from their safeguarding vulnerable adults division. They’re appalled, quite frankly. As is my GP, and all other professionals in every area of my life; this including my lecturers and tutors.

580251I know you can teach or inform everyone. I know you can’t expect people to change. But at the very least, I do expect for those carrying out illegal actions to be removed, especially if said person is a member of staff dutied with looking after student welfare.

This staff member has never met me, and yet has sent out slanderous emails about me to everyone else in my flat, as well as departments (without having me copied in at all), stating I’ve done things that I haven’t, that I’ve threatened and stabbed, stabbed! He even said the University was working with me to ‘fix’ these ‘issues’! They don’t exist, completely fabricated and falsified! I’ve never been spoken too about these supposed allegations, nor have any other flat mates I assume as they would verify that 1) I wouldn’t hurt a fly, and 2) the only thing on the list that happened was carried out my an aggressive alcoholic who has since left the flat.

This staff member is meant to be able to look after, not only me, but all the other students in his designated area. But every time I’ve had the paramedics called out –5 times in the last 3 weeks– he’s hightailed it out of there.

Friends I only met this last year had to deal with me being unconscious and unresponsive when they find me, me screaming why I get one of my stress induced pain cycles. They have to call 999, campus security to open the gates for the ambulance, my parents,  they shouldn’t have to do that! All of them are ill and stressed and showing symptoms of either chronic stress, anxiety, or depression, and it’s all because those in place who are meant to care for the welfare of the students are completely inept!

200 (10)These lovely people, these friends I’ve met, they shouldn’t have had to scramble to find my medication for the paramedics, or try and remember my conditions which were mentioned in passing. The welfare team should do this, it should never be left to 18 year olds who have no first aid training, let alone any kind of duty to take on such a task.

 

The first time I collapsed, I didn’t respond for almost 50 minutes. The paramedics said it was unlikely that I would have at all if I had been left any longer.

I could be dead. 

Let’s just let that sink in for a second. If those lovely friends had left me in the care of the welfare staff, as they should be able to, I wouldn’t be alive right now. It is to them that I owe my life.

The welfare team are meant to be able to support students whilst they are away from home and studying at university. They should know the medical history of ‘at risk’ students, which I am as I am in an adapted room and have been noted on register as needing assistance and support, as well as being within the disability advisory service run by the university. I should be safe to study, and if the event arises that I need emergency assistance, the welfare team should know my medical history, medication, triggers, etcetera. In practice, they didn’t even bother to check on me when I fled a flat meeting clearly distressed, and didn’t bother showing up when notified about my state, nor when the ambulance came (which the welfare team is immediately informed about).

And this was just the first time! There have since been more instances than I can count on both hands that this has again happened. Each time it’s handled worse and worse. So many things have been said and done that are just wrong. I have pages and pages of it jotted down so that I have a log of it. So many pages.

5 weeks later, and nothing has been done. Nothing is sorted out. If anything, it’s worse. 

I don’t know if I have faith anymore in the system we have in place, and the faith I had previous to all of this was tenuous at best. I don’t feel safe at University at all right now, and am staying as home despite paying for my accommodation anyway.

‘Communicating over the computer is cowardly, people say things they would never say in person. If you can’t communicate face to face, you will never succeed in this life. You need to be able to pick up on the social cues, the body language, facial expressions-’ Welfare Officer/Warden

Should someone, who says something like this, really be responsible for the welfare of not only those with disabilities, but also those without? I think not.

The whole reason I chose the university I am studying at is that it’s pastoral care was said to be far superior than any of my other options, and academically it is in the top 1% of universities in the world. I can’t help but feel somewhat disappointed.

Hopefully things will get better, I don’t know what I’ll do if they don’t. I need to get out of this slump ASAHP (as soon as humanely possible).

I hope you are all well, and if not, hang in there,

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Sasha x

 

 

 

Discrimination. This must stop. 

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Ruelle – Game of Survival

I don’t think I’ve ever felt so down in my life. Note: ‘Down’ is my safer word for depression by the way, and will be used here on out as a synonym of sorts.

Last year (my first year of Uni) was the first time I really tried to make friends without consistently monitoring and planning my every interaction. This did not go well. I ended up not leaving my room for days at a time, eating from my room (to avoid the shared kitchen) and running in and out of my room for lectures and meetings-if I went at all.

So this new academic year, I wanted to try this again. I identified that last year I didn’t give any information to my fellow flatmates, I just said that I can be anxious and a little socially awkward. That was to save me feeling uncomfortable, to save me from feeling vulnerable and unguarded. This year I though it best to shove these feelings aside, and be completely open and honest. So I did this from day one. 

The first night, I collapsed and paramedics had to be called out. 

The girl that had stayed in the flat with me rather than going out had the next day complained about having to ‘look after me’, saying that she felt ‘regret’ over not having her evening out, that is was ‘unfair’.

After this, I made a resolution to be utterly self-sufficient. 

At first it started maybe a week or two in, I thought they may just be getting stressed now that work was coming in and freshers week was over. A snear when I flapped my hands, a scoff when my words sounded odd to them… I let it slide. I shouldn’t have, but I was so desperate to keep the friends I had, that I didn’t want to kick up a fuss with others in the flat and have those friends think ‘oh, she isn’t that nice after all, its only a matter of time until she becomes mean to us’.

It was stupid to accept less than I deserve, but that’s what I did, and continued to do for 5 months.

Honestly there is so much that has gone on, but I will share what I can bring myself to get into words in a  separate post, the rest I shall ruminate over until the incidents are a little less raw. But right now I shall share how this progressed, and the resultant impact this has had on me.

  • Background-wise, I have a ungodly plethora of ailments. My flatmates were informed of this by me at the beginning of the academic year, even though it pushed me too far (what with so many strangers, extended communication, and having to share so much personal information) and made me collapse.
    • So they were explicitly aware not only of my conditions, but also the details of them which I also gave (I didn’t want to assume they would bother to look anything up, it was best to give them the information they needed to know).
    • Obviously things came up that I had forgotten to fill them in about, but one of my close friends in the flat would always offer to bring this to the attention of the others, which I was grateful for as work was constant at this point and I was stressed as it was, let alone having to spill my guts all over again, explain/justify why I hadn’t mentioned this earlier, and answer any questions.
  • Progressively their inconsiderate actions seemed less and less careless, and a little more intentional. I’m not saying that any of them sat and planned ways to make uni difficult for me, but they definitely knew what they were doing and the impact their actions and words were having on me.
  • what ensued over the last 5 months (the very words I presented to the halls warden);
    • Severe head pains to rear of skull, usually (but not always) requiring me to sit down in case I pass out from the pain. If I do not pass out I will be lightheaded and unsteady, sometimes even physically sick from pain. 1-2/day
    • I have Vaso vagal, so I will have fainting episodes under any kind of stress (too cold, too hot, too stressed etc) and recently I have been passing out regularly, and having less warning when its going to happen. I may not be picking up on the signs though just due to my own exhaustion and inability to focus through my anxiety. 2-3/day
    • Something that began to get gradually worse over my time at university is my lack of proprioceptive feedback, meaning I can’t feel my limbs or know where they are unless I look at them. This comes at times of residual stress, and is worsened by lack of sleep, anxiety, and low mood. Due to this I fall over regularly, and almost daily require the use of my crutches at some point. 3-4/day
    • Panic attacks grip me before I even get out of bed (I’ll usually need 1.5hours to get out of bed because two panic attacks have to ensue and subside before I can move without my chest becoming painful) and then throughout the day, especially when I have many things to do or I come into contact with people that are not understanding. 4-15/day
    • I have an uncommon combination of Asperger’s Syndrome paired with the addition of the sensitivities to sensory stimuli of traditional autism. As such noises, smells, and contact (I control what I eat and see) is extremely provocative of all of the above issues, but at the very least will send me into sensory overload. 3-6/day
      • I assume this may be the equivalent of a Neurotypical/NT (having an ASD I am neurodiverse or neuroatypical, meaning my neurologiy from birth is different to the majority of the population. In short, I’m wired differently) turning on 20 different tv channels at once, having multiple radios playing separate stations, and someone else hitting pots and pans together in no predictable pattern. I’m not very good at explaining my issues to others, so hopefully the example helped.
      • Further example: A knock on my door will should like thunder, as in it will make me jump and my chest tighten, even make my ears resonate.
    • Due to the stress I’m under I’m forgetting to eat and drink, sometimes though I know I should but I just can’t bring myself to leave my room, or even move. Up to 3/day
    • I have been unable to sleep for more than 2-4 hours a night for just over two weeks now. I would periodically have this last term, but never constantly as it is now. Partially this is due to stress, but noise and disruption at ungodly hours of the morning also play a part. 7 nights a week
    • I do not sleep, and work myself continuously so that I do not become preoccupied with my own anxiety and sadness. Obviously this runs me down, and thus I am more susceptible to all of the above.
    • I have been unable to leave my room for lectures, listening at the door and looking at the peep holes worried I’ll see one of the people that aren’t very nice or understanding – I’ve tried to climb out my windows, but that doesn’t work. In the end I wait for one of my friends in the flat to come and get me after I have asked if they can and are free. I did however go to my double today as my disability adviser and my counselor have arranged for me to be able to go in late if needs be. This means even if I do panic, I can still go.
    • My chest is now continually tight, despite my exercises for my breathing, meditation, yoga, and having a steroid inhaler I take regularly. This is particularly worrying as I am doing all I can on my end. Also, my MRI/neurobiology is fine, the stress responses I’m getting are not due to a malfunction in those areas, thus my situation must be changed/stressers removed.
    • My mood is worryingly low, lower than the time during sixth form when my depression was well into the clinical ranges. Again, none of my techniques are working (and I have plenty, I’ve been in therapy since I was ~11 years old for anxiety and depression).
    • I feel unsafe and alone. Despite having friends in the flat, it doesn’t take away that I feel scrutinized and looked down upon. I feel like a pest, an inconvenience. This is only solidified by the behaviour I receive. I disclosed my disability so that those living with me would be understanding, not to have them use it against me or throw it back in my face
    • Largely, I also feel unsupported, scared, trapped and confused.

And now, when everything was getting too much, when I could barely get out of bed, wasn’t eating or sleeping, not able to drink or think or work…I said something. My friends were so understanding, and I actually felt silly for not saying anything. I thought that as they were so considerate, it was likely this could just be sorted among ourselves; no need to fill my parents or counselor in on the goings on.

I was wrong.

They responded violently, both verbally and emotionally. The manipulation and what I now realise was blatant discrimination became harsh and more direct. The worst part is the halls warden got involved, and was probably just as bad as the students.

If you are being discriminated against, know that you do not deserve it. That if it feels wrong then it probably is, and that there is so much help and support out there that you never have to feel like you’re facing it all alone. Never accept less than you deserve my friends, never. 

Pertinent links:

 

Details of the incidents themselves will be in the next post.

Hope you’re all having a wonderful day,

Sasha x