The Autistic /ADHD Community hates me, but it needs to grow up

When you are diagnosed as being Autistic or having ADHD, quite often you find that you have been diagnosed because you want to understand why you feel so isolated. Therefore it makes sense to find a place within a community that should hold you tight and embrace you as one of their own.

I wish.

The difficulty is that too often, the community decides what is wrong and what is right and self-appointed leaders spring up, ordering everyone to fall in line and not stray from that line for fear of public humiliation. They hector their followers and, regrettably, too often those followers follow like sheep, not thinking for themselves but only too willing to jump on the bandwagon of hate that spews forth from their leader’s Twitter.

I have always found it bizarre that a community that wants the NT world to be more understanding and helpful to them, launches attacks on that very same NT world, with alarming frequency and viciousness. The slightest misstep is greeted with derision, but more than that, genuine hate. Accusations are bandied about that the NT is acting deliberately or causing harm, and there is no tolerance at all for a simple mistake or error. You either understand everything immediately and don’t put a foot wrong, or else you are deemed to be an enemy for life. I wonder then, how the NT world can possibly help us when we don’t want to help them understand us in the first place. Shouldn’t we be educating them instead of screaming abuse at them?

Very recently, there has been a documentary on the BBC about people who have received an ADHD diagnosis privately, and how that diagnosis may be flawed due to how it was given. The journalist involved has been subjected to the most horrific abuse on social media by a community that has, yet again, not attempted to understand the rationale behind the documentary, but has accused the journalist and the BBC of something akin to murder.

Rory Carson has been accused of lying in order to get his diagnosis. As he has explained several times, he believed he might have ADHD and answered the questions to the best of his knowledge. That is not lying.

We know that he doesn’t have ADHD after he undertook a thorough assessment on the NHS, but his investigation exposed some alarming facts that the community seems perfectly happy to ignore in its pursuit of hating on him. He was diagnosed by a Pharmacist in one case, not a psychiatrist. Then by a psychologist in another, a psychologist who looked bored throughout, and merely asked a series of basic questions that you or I could have asked. In neither case was he asked about his previous history and detailed information taken in order to gain a better and more rounded view of the likelihood that he had ADHD.

He was prescribed, or would have been, strong medicines that should not be prescribed unless the diagnosis is correct. But the community doesn’t care about that, the fact he was concerned that these drugs might cause harm in the wrong hands and to the wrong people.

Instead, the community has accused him of ruining people’s lives; of setting back the diagnostic timeframe for others, and of generally upsetting the apple cart. They scream that this is wrong, that the BBC are terrible, that Rory is a fraud and that somehow this is the government’s fault for not providing sufficient funding so that any person believing they have ADHD are diagnosed in a timely manner.

They accuse him of damaging people because some doctors, post documentary, have now ceased to prescribe the medication to some patients. They don’t turn their focus upon those doctors and ask why their opinion has suddenly changed, they just launch into Rory and the BBC with wild accusations and threats.

I believe that the documentary highlighted serious flaws in the system. I believe that going private does put a certain amount of added ‘pressure’ for an ADHD diagnosis, because, if we are honest, we don’t want to pay out and get nothing back, and these clinics are aware of that. And I don’t believe that drugs should be prescribed unless there is an actual condition to treat. These drugs are powerful with many side effects and wiser people than me have always said, don’t take a drug you don’t need. It messes up your system.

Yes, I want those with genuine conditions (Autism, ADHD etc) to get a diagnosis, but one given under proper conditions and after proper and thorough consideration. Yes, I know there’s a chronic underfunding issue in the NHS and such diagnoses are amongst many that need to be considered. I understand why people go private but this documentary does expose the need to be cautious. You can look up the diagnostic criteria for ADHD online. If the questions you are asked don’t cover those criteria and your overall mental health and history aren’t considered, shouldn’t you be asking yourself if the private system is working? Nobody should accept a 30-minute diagnosis based on a questionnaire. It just isn’t right. Is it?

The documentary was short, but that led to an accusation that he didn’t do enough, that Rory hadn’t seen more clinics and more practitioners. Well, what do you want? You’re accusing him of setting back the diagnosis procedure as it is, so would more examples have made any difference? And how many would have satisfied you? 10? 20? 100? Who can say?

I have strived to be part of this Autism/ADHD community. I have tried to be supportive and understanding, but when explaining that I was diagnosed as Aspergers because that was still a valid diagnosis in 2009, simply led to accusations of me being a Nazi and Antisemite and a witch-hunt was conducted by someone who I trusted and I received the most horrific abuse from the leaders I mentioned earlier, encouraging their followers to jump in and abuse me as well because it’s such fun to see if you can send an already suicidal man over the edge.

And this is MY community. Allegedly. A community where I should be safe to talk about me. About how I feel. About MY diagnosis. I’m not brilliant nor clever like so many of my fellow Autistic people. I don’t scream about the superiority of my diagnosis, nor have I ever claimed to be high-functioning or talented in any way, shape or form. I’m just me, but I can’t be me because that’s not good enough.

I don’t fit in. I’ve been driven out by the hate. The hate from a community that asks for tolerance and support yet gives none in return. A community that wants the NT world to understand them, whilst showing a complete unwillingness to do the same by return. A community that takes umbrage at everything it perceives was designed to attack or belittle them, even when it doesn’t and its motives were unremarkable.

I’m sorry but I can’t do this any longer.

I can’t keep swimming against the tide, wondering where the next attack will come from and whether I will survive it. I can’t keep hoping for reason when all I see is raw hate and blind following of leaders who I didn’t elect.

I don’t want to live like this.

So, when I’m gone, think about why you did what you did and ask yourself if you’re pleased with yourself. Think about how tolerant you were of other’s opinions and how supportive you were.

But you won’t care. I’ll just be another statistic and you’ll use me in that way, to prove your point whilst ignoring mine.


PiP reviews are fundamentally unfair

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I had my PiP review yesterday, over the phone.

I was awarded PiP back in May 2019 and even then I knew what was coming. I could ignore it for the first year or two but then it was looming large in my rearview mirror.

I was told 2023 so imagine my surprise when, in early 2022, I got asked to send in a new form in readiness. I must admit to being caught off-guard and displeased but I summoned the energy to fill out the form, stumbling over what went where or why the questions seemed so limiting and out of touch with reality, and posted it off with 50 odd pages of evidence.

And then I waited.

And then I got the dreaded message informing me of my review.

And it was hell!

My conditions are lifelong, they won’t change and I will only get worse in some instances. But still, the powers that be demand that I am put through 70 minutes of agonising over every answer I give, conscious that I may say the wrong thing or give the wrong impression, already stressed and exhausted before the questioning starts.

And the questions. Some are vague and I find myself asking what the questioner means. ‘What do you mean?’ and ‘I’m sorry, I don’t understand what you are asking’ are commonly heard throughout. I’m Autistic but that’s only mentioned once, in passing, as though that aspect of me, that ‘disability’ is overlooked and unimportant in the process.

And it is. It’s quite clear that the questions are geared generally, towards physical disability. How far can you walk? How long can you sit for? What happens when you can’t stand up any longer? Who does the shopping? Can you go to A?

Then there’s my favourite question. “You are going out for the day, the car is running and the door is open. What do you do?” I get this wrong because I forget to mention my worst day so I simply say that I sit in it? Then. “How do you get in?” Yes, there are occasions that my partner has to help me but I forget that and only mention when she helps me out- usually by means of a push to give me momentum so I can stand up, or coming around and pulling me up.

There are questions about cooking (My partner’s domain) and how I survive if she’s out for the day. About taking my pills. They’re here beside me. I take them. I sometimes forget and yes I have taken more by accident.

I’m asked about chores. I say I vacuum a room or two but that’s my partner’s domain (again). Do we have pets? What kind? Do I feed them? Do I change the litter tray? I struggle because I don’t know what to say so I say no to the litter tray, although I do empty it. It is by the bin. I just find the question so daft as to startle me.

I can’t seem to impress on her how fucking hard life is at times. Yes, I have ‘better’ days, but I’m Autistic, have ADHD, Fibromyalgia, and Diabetes and I’ve had two strokes. I shouldn’t have to answer the same questions time and time again.

Then it’s about support. Why aren’t I seeing a specialist about this or that? Because they don’t want to see me because there’s nothing they can do. Why aren’t I still under the mental health team? Because they can’t help me. When did my doctor last review my medicine? No idea but assume he checks with every prescription I ask for? And what changes are there to my meds? Why have they changed? Who changed them?

Is my doctor aware of this or that? How do I know? Does he read my record? Clearly not as the last time we met he told me I hadn’t been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, despite me being on pain medication for it for the last 8 years! Then he moaned about not getting sent a letter from the specialist who saw me, as though it was my fault he hadn’t got it!

I noticed that the lady who did my review never gave me any details about her qualifications to be doing it, so it might have been the cleaner and that I was given no opportunity to add anything or say anything more. Perhaps she had enough. I know that I had.

She said she was there to support me so I can’t say if that’s a good sign or not. Is it just said to make me more comfortable or is it said just because it it’s true and her report will reflect that I need support? I guess the proof will be in the pudding.

I feel that these reviews are a waste of time and money. I don’t criticise her as such, although the questions were vague and unhelpful when you are Autistic, but when you have forwarded all the evidence and completed their form, and nothing has changed for the better, what do these reviews achieve?

They waste time and resources that might be better spent elsewhere and they cause panic in the applicants who worry endlessly about what to say and how to act. It can’t possibly be a natural process or a relaxing one. Too much rides on it and I can’t help but feel that they exist to catch us out and give them a reason to revoke our claims.

They can talk about support but, really, how supportive are they?

Let’s wait and see.


I’m not alone, I suspect, in ignoring things that should be done.

I have good intentions. I make lists, I look at things, I ask myself what to do with them and whether they should be junked, or sold or given to charity.

I do all of that but then…nothing gets done.

Now, That’s not always my fault. I share this space and a lot of what we have isn’t mine. In fact, most of my precious items eg my books, are in boxes and I haven’t seen them in their booky flesh for a few years now. We boxed everything in anticipation of the roof being done and then, surprise, surprise, nothing happened. And we left everything where it was.

I would love to have a huge clearout. Not so much so that we could throw stuff out but so we could see what we actually had. Only last week we went upstairs and my better half asked me what was in a huge plastic trunk on wheels in one of the rooms. Opening it, she was amazed to find yet more material and enough wool to safely redress a hundred sheep or more. The fact that she couldn’t remember that she had so much is a stark reminder that she does have so much, and she can’t remember what it is or where it is. So she goes out and purchases some more.

I understand that we have limited space here but that space is crammed with boxes of material, dies, fabric cut offs, felt, scissors and cutters, four sewing machines, two die cutting machines and a partridge in a pear tree! That is the reality of our situation. We don’t know what we have and we don’t make use of the space we have wisely. We have so much stuff we don’t use and will never use. So much stuff that we have ‘just in case’ but ‘just in case’ never actually visits us so its a waste of space.

I’m not blameless here but I do try to moderate what I buy and my hobbies (har har!) are confined to video games (a modest collection not exceeding 20) and my writing (on a Chromebook) and not much else. I have a guitar I really should tune and practice on (starting from scratch…again) but aside from that, and my trading cards, all in binders, I don’t have the vast expanse of stuff that my OH does.

And, being Autistic, I do get cranky at the chaos. I don’t like the disorder and not knowing what we have or where it is.

So, what to do? Look at it, talk about it, think about it, move it? Who knows, but I do know we really need to act now, before another hundred sheep give up their woolly coats.


Strange perhaps that one such as I, a useless swimmer, should perhaps have had some of his happiest moments whilst on the water.

Not in the water, you understand. I fell out of love with the idea of being in it many years ago, when it became the family routine to go to the beach after my parents finished work and spend evening after evening on the sand or shingle, whilst my mother immersed herself and encouraged me to join her.

It wasn’t that I didn’t like the sea, I just didn’t like what came with it. Hours and hours of sunbathing just wasn’t my style and, given that I am Autistic, I was ill at ease in finding other children to play with. I lost count of weekends spent in Cornwall on the beach, the windbreakers, the car journeys, and the endless walks to the sea which receded until it was a thin line on the horizon.

Of course, there were good things as well. Rock pools and their inhabitants, those pools of water heated by the sun and left behind by the receding waters, and, when the beach wasn’t uncomfortably crowded, glorious vistas to behold.

But I couldn’t swim. I had lessons at school but barely made it across the width of the local swimming pool. It just wasn’t enjoyable and whilst I suppose it would be good to be able to swim, I never saw the need for it. After all, when would I go near water again once I reached the age that travelling with my parents to the beach was no longer expected?

Well, you can’t do a Nile Cruise without going on the Nile. Yes, I didn’t think that one through, did I? And you can’t take a boat to Mingun in Myanmar without getting on a boat and hey, don’t get me started about the Keralan backwaters…which are water. Now, I don’t think I’m likely to go swimming in the Nile or have a quick dip in the Irrawaddy anytime soon, but I don’t deny that every single time I am on the water, I feel so much better for it.

Nile Cruise? Yes please. A trip to Mingun, trailing my hand lazily in the water as the scenery changes? Any day. Cruising the backwaters on a houseboat in Kerala? My idea of heaven.

There is something different about waking up on the water and hearing the gentle lap of the current against the hull. Feeling the gentle rocking beneath your feet, and sensing the breeze that seems ever present when you are afloat.

There is a different pace to life, a more relaxed pace, governed by the boat’s speed, and there is nothing more relaxing than enjoying that gentle chugging along whilst the world passes you by on the riverbanks. You seem removed from the ferocity of everyday life, that hectic hustle and bustle full of noise and confusion; removed to a different place, a more genteel place where the rhythm of life is no longer techno-pop with its incessant beat, but a Mozart string quartet, gently caressing you downstream.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no desire to undertake an ocean cruise. I have no wish to share my time with 2000 other souls, crammed into a floating hotel, threatened at every turn by a choice of dining and offers of shows that I must, apparently, enjoy. I do not wish to experience that because that is too big and, strangely, too detached from the water. No, if I am to be upon the water then my experience must be more intimate. I must be able to almost touch it, to see it up close and personal, to marvel at its movement and to share in its life, not stand upon a distant deck and watch it stretch away from me, as though it is running scared.

I do not wish to see an endless vista of blue for that, to me, is dull. I want the familiarity of life at my sides, yet not so intrusive that it crushes me nor so remote that I cannot see it but only guess that it is there. I want to feel alive and that life is drawn from my surroundings, both active and passive, so long as I know it is close by and that I can draw my strength from it.

So I, a non-swimmer, is not afraid of water as such, but my relationship with water has to be tightly controlled. The cruise, that laid-back experience, shared with friends of a common bond, in the moment, whilst the world watches me sail by.

Some of the happiest times of my life.

The bizarre world of disability and employment.

Do you want to work?

That is a simple question, isn’t it?

Until you try and answer it.

Saying yes to it can lead to all sorts of issues because the answer can hide all sorts of caveats.

So, do I want to work? The short answer is yes…with those caveats. I’ve worked for 33 years of my adult life so I am not ‘work shy’ and I appreciate the life-enhancing aspects of work. But there is a big but in the way of that.

I’m Autistic. I need a job with routine, where change is discussed ahead of time, and where reasonable adjustments can be made. I also have ADHD so have to factor that in, as well as fibromyalgia which adds a physical aspect to my overall well-being.

So, I couldn’t, as an example, work in a factory, or stock shelves, or spend long hours working on my feet, or do a lot of walking. Just working will wear me out so I need to monitor how much physical activity I have to do in the course of the day.

And I don’t want a job that is endlessly repetitive. As much as routine is good for me, the lack of mental stimulation can be a major drawback and harmful as it leads to boredom and a desire to leave that particular post.

So I need a job that suits my needs and my ability to cope with it. I am not a square peg to be hammered into a round hole just to keep the government’s statistics looking good. And finding the right job, when you’re disabled or differently abled, is bloody hard. I don’t want, having had a breakdown, to have another one. I don’t want to let a prospective employer down, and I don’t want them to feel pressurised into offering me a job.

In an ideal world, I would work in travel. It’s my passion, my interest, but a role I am totally unqualified to do. I don’t have a degree, the customary request of almost all employers for all jobs these days, or so it seems. But I do have experience of travel, I enjoy research, I enjoy planning holidays and I believe it would be a good fit for me.

But my chances of achieving that aim are almost zero. I’m 57, I’m Autistic, so who is going to take a chance on me for the next 10 years?

It’s all very well that the government want the disabled to work, and many of us do, but some of us can’t just work for the sake of working. It just doesn’t work, excuse the pun, like that.

I’ve had a work capability assessment. I’m ruled unfit for work. That assessment concentrated wholly on my fibro without looking at why I had left my previous employment or my breakdown so I don’t even know if that’s been factored in. And that’s one medical assessment.

I was also assessed for PiP and the government has failed to realise that a WCA is not the same as a PiP assessment. PiP and being assessed for work are two very different things, looking at different aspects of life. PiP is to support a person with living costs, it is not assessing whether I can work in a supermarket or become the head of ICI. Saying that one assessment will deal with all aspects of life, unless it is dramatically changed, is nonsense.

Does this mean that only if you get PiP you will be exempt from work? But if you don’t then, no matter your illness or disability, you won’t get any help unless you strive to get a job…which is a job in itself. And what about sanctions? Disabled people are more likely to miss appointments due to changes in their health or access to the facilities required. How is that going to work? Are work coaches, with whom I have some sympathy, going to be given greater freedom in judging which excuse is genuine and which is not?

I have grave concerns about the current plans and must hope, as I am sure many disabled people do, that they never see the light of day. They are designed to fill us with dread because not once has this government demonstrated the slightest empathy with our situation.

So yes, I would like to think I would work again, in some capacity, but I’m not going to die in the process.

All a matter of opinion!

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Quite recently I posted an opinion on a thread on another site. A tv series had finished and I had found it dull, and unimaginative and found that the cast lacked chemistry. Of the 300 plus postings, only mine and a few others, were less than whole-heartedly complimentary towards the series.

I was giving my opinion.

But the backlash was incredible.

“Don’t watch it then,” screamed one. “There’s an off button!” yelled another. I got told that I was ‘sad’ and ‘pathetic’ and that why was I watching it if I hated it so much?

I pointed out a number of things in response. I said that I had once really enjoyed the series and had been hopeful of a return to its former glories. I asked how I could give an opinion without watching it? Surely I had to watch it to be able to comment on it?

At no point did I deride others for enjoying it. At no point did I laugh at them and tell them they must be daft or sad or pathetic for enjoying it so much. They enjoyed it and I didn’t…and that was the problem they had.

Aren’t I allowed an opinion? I asked. Not when it’s dumb, I was told. Not when its obvious bait. But that was missing the point of my inquiry.

Life is about opinions. We have them on films, books, politics, religion,- you name it, we have an opinion on it, so being told that just because mine was contrary to theirs was very frustrating. Being told my opinion was wrong was frustrating, especially when it was MY opinion and nobody else’s. The keyboard warriors were out in full force, attacking me and berating me for daring to have an alternative viewpoint.

And that made me sad. I never poked fun at them for liking it. Never said they shouldn’t like it. Never tried to impose MY opinion on them. I felt censored, I felt that I was being told to conform, that no opinion other than an agreed-upon positive spin would be tolerated. And that made me mad.

Life is about opinions. Opinions allow us to have a discourse about any number of matters. Yes, it can be about persuading someone that your view is correct but its also about celebrating difference and appreciating that we aren’t all sheep, just baaa-ing along with the same theme.

I get it that people don’t like contrary viewpoints but either accept them, politely disagree or move on. Don’t bully people and gang up on them. If their opinion doesn’t harm you or any group that is subject to harassment and discrimination, then just get on with your lives, don’t start a fight just because you like A and I don’t.

It’s all a matter of opinion, so why can’t I have mine?

The Great Travel Bucket List!

Not a bucket in sight!

When I win the lottery tonight, which is highly unlikely, I will start work on my bucket list.

I don’t intend to collect buckets because that seems a bit pointless but, although I might be wrong, I’m assuming there are bucket collectors out there somewhere. This is an altogether more interesting bucket list because it’s a travel list…in a bucket!

So, where do I begin?

India. Yes, I’ve been before, yes, I’ve been both North and South, but a visit to my Mothers birthplace of Kolkata seems to be fitting and I still have a great enthusiasm to see both Gujarat and Hampi, as well as visiting the Ajanta and Ellora caves.

Then there’s Egypt. Egypt is my spiritual home in so many ways and a cruise on the Nile is always thrilling.

I’d like to visit Peru, provided the country is quiet and Machu Picchu is open for business. I can’t imagine how galling it must have been for so many when it was closed recently due to public unrest. If that could be combined with Bolivia, that would be splendid.

Laos is on my list. I’ve been to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam but never quite managed to make my way to Luang Prabang and by all accounts, it’s a very nice place.

I’m warming to Indonesia. Years ago I recall a company offering a pretty good tour there, and it came a close second to whatever holiday I chose at that time. I’d really like to see Borobudur and pet a Komodo dragon.

Part of me wants to visit China whilst the other part thinks not. It’s a vast country and I think the Great Wall and Terracotta pots…I mean soldiers, would be pretty spectacular to see. I guess it is on my list, just not that far up it.

Japan is pretty near the top. It’s a dream destination, but not a cheap one so that lottery win is more and more vital if I’m going to make it there. I must stop watching tv programmes that enthuse about it and make me want to go even more.

Then there’s Namibia. I get strange looks when I say that, possibly because nobody knows where it is on a map. I’m very much one for ruins and history but on this occasion I’d swap them for wildlife and vast sand dunes.

Other countries like Syria and Libya appear on the dream list rather than bucket. Safety being an issue in both and having been so for a while, it’s hard to say when either country might be safe enough to travel in.

And that’s about it. No Europe, as you will have noticed, just because whilst I’m sure it’s beautiful, and Italy has some appeal, I feel it’s too close to home and not exotic enough for me.

So yeah, a few countries, a few parts of a few countries and a lot of expense.

Time for my ‘lucky’ dip to be truly lucky, I think!

Flights of Fancy

Head in the clouds

Have you ever flown First or Business Class?

I was toying today, messing about on websites, trying to find cheap…or expensive airfares, and dreaming of sunnier climes and holidays.

I’ve always flown economy class. Fine for 5 hours or 12 if you get the emergency row seats and can stretch out a bit, not so great when you’re cramped in the middle seat because your wife wants the window seat and the person in the aisle seat overlaps yours by a number of inches.

I’m over 6ft tall and I hate that feeling of being closed in, crushed by somebody reclining in the seat in front of me, trying to sort my legs out from around my neck whilst threatening to spill red hot coffee into my lap and give my genitals third degree burns! It is no fun!

So I look at Business and First, and I watch videos of vloggers travelling in style, telling me how wonderful it all is. Then I look at the cost, have a mild heart attack, tell myself that no matter where you sit, the plane gets you there, and spend the money on other things.

But I always come back to it. Is it worth it? Does paying an extra £2000 get you something to the value of £2000? Better food for sure, perhaps a flat bed, better Tv…and the all important amenity kit! And that’s just in Business. In First you might get a suite and, I dunno, a better quality pair of slippers to stick your feet into.

And different airlines offer different services. Better seats, different configurations, newer planes, a better champagne perhaps, or even a better quality comb in your amenity kit!

I want to try it but the cost is prohibitive. I have to remind myself that Business or cramped and crushed class, the plane is going to the same place and we will all make it in one piece…except one will disembark in a happy manner, manicured, well-fed and well rested, whilst I will crawl off the plane, legs throbbing, arms contorted, wondering what the hell I ate and reminding myself never to fly like that again!

Until it’s time to come home!

Let’s talk about work!

Most people know that I’m Autistic, have ADHD and Fibromyalgia. I’ve also had two strokes and in four short weeks I will reach the dizzying heights of 57, still ten years short of getting my state pension.

My last job ended in a mutual agreement that I should leave for the date of my sanity. It caused my meltdown and left me scared and scarred of entering the workplace again.

But that is not to say I don’t want to work. Money is useful and there is something to be said, according to my better half, for some limited human interaction. And certainly for using the brain cells.

I’ve spent 23 years in the civil service. I’ve done administration work for the Parachute Regiment and Royal Green Jackets, I’ve been involved in clerking some very high profile criminal trials such as that of a certain Liverpool goalie, I’ve been trusted to train others and I’ve been head hunted for a specific role in determining costs. I’ve been the guy to make the big court openings go smoothly by reading the letters patent and generally speaking, in roles I’ve enjoyed, I’ve thrived.

Then I’ve spent 9 years sorting out tax problems for vulnerable people. Dealing with HMRC, organising appeals, getting debts cancelled, saving people money and in many cases, their sanity.

And yes, if I enjoy a job then great but the truth is, enjoyment is not love. I have been good at things I really don’t enjoy and the things that really interest me, eg Travel, are beyond me due to the lack of qualifications.

I have spent years training to be a counsellor only then to have my course funding ripped away and given to Afro-Caribbean hairdressing, I kid you not, and now find myself miles from any study centre anyway, even if I could get back into my training.

So, when it comes to work, I’m not qualified or can’t become qualified and people, whilst well meaning, talk about my skills without appreciating that I don’t have any. I’m not an IT whizz, I don’t do courses, I don’t go to meetings, I can’t do Excel, I know nothing about HR or project management or…and the list goes on.

I don’t have the stamina for long shifts or shop work and I can’t stand up for hours on end. And all that means is that every time employment is mentioned, it is assumed I can only do, or should only do, office workers and be a grunt.

And I’ve done that. I don’t want to do that again. I’d love to have a paying self employed career. I’d love to be a photographer or a successful writer, or work from home as a travel agent but one, I don’t have a decent camera, two, my books don’t sell and three, companies want anything between £8-10K to set you up as a home working travel agent. And I’ve not got the sort of money to waste if it all goes wrong.

So I’m not saying no to work. I’m saying no to the wrong work. If I work again then it has to be the right thing and this time it has to be for me. I need to feel valued and fulfilled, not treated like shit and my conditions ignored or brushed aside. I want something, even if it’s 6 hours a week, that makes me smile, that leaves me with the ‘That was good’ feeling. I don’t want to be a pen-pusher in a dead end job. Trust me, that will kill me.

And I’d rather be living.


There’s a lot going on at the moment.

Only there isn’t. It seems to be, but perhaps only in my mind which, it must be said, is struggling.

I feel overwhelmed but don’t know why, or rather I do, but don’t want to say because I’ve said it all before and nothing has changed, so there’s little point rehashing old stuff yet again. It doesn’t change things, not really.

The future looks bleak. Not mega bleak, as though it could all end horribly tomorrow, but that bleak, nothing is gonna change bleakness where you question if you have the stamina for it and can bear merely to exist without any light at the end of the dark tunnel.

I’m so confused about so much. My mind churns constantly with the practicality, or impracticality, of things. What do I do about work? Should I work? Can I work? Can I find the right job for me given my age and medical issues? I don’t want to do too much and feel overwhelmed but, on the other hand, I don’t want to do too little or too much in the wrong job and find boredom has set in or I’m not getting any job satisfaction and resenting it. I’m Autistic and the wrong job could destroy me, plus I’m almost 57, and we know how hard it is for people my age to find work.

My writings failing. No, not to the point where I’m going to give up, but to the extent that I’m not quite there with it. I hoped for a little more interaction but I don’t know my target audience…unless it’s just me…and I can’t buy my own books. I don’t seem to get the reviews I need to give it a boost and I’m pretty certain it’s not reaching the right people despite my best and expensive efforts.

I’m churning away. Churning in my head, churning in my writing, churning in my sleep. Feeling anxious, fed up, exasperated and at a loss to know what to do for the best. Story of my life.

But what else can I do? The world keeps on turning, and I must keep on churning.