Fear is the mind killer

Everyone has fears. 

Admitting your fears is not easy for a number of reasons. To admit them may be to open yourself up to ridicule or to admit them may make them more real. 

I have several fears. 

I fear that my life is a failure. I fear that is all pointless and that I just exist for the sake of existing, that I have no purpose and that I’ve achieved nothing. Biology meant I couldn’t father children so I’ve no genetic achievements, I work in a job with no prospect of advancement, I’m a divorcee, don’t earn much, have diabetes, fibromyalgia and am Autistic, and basically I’m a pretty worthless specimen. 

I fear I let others down. When I lose a darts match I fear I’ve let the side down. When I can’t answer a colleagues question at work I feel I’ve let them down. My partner could find someone so much better than me who would do the stuff she likes and I don’t so I fear I let her down all the time. 

And the list goes on. 

And fear leads to stress and anxiety. 

I am Autistic. Routine and order are my safeguards but I feel so torn between my adherence to them and wanting to help outside of those boundaries. It’s Autism with a heart. 

I get stressed easily. Anxiety is the twin I never had. 

I fear getting hurt and I fear hurting others. I don’t want to fear but its so ingrained in me. I can’t live the carefree life. And I fear not fearing because that, to me, means losing control and, being Autistic, that is something I can’t lose. 

I am a fearful person. 

And the vicious circle of fear – stress – anxiety – fear is a mind killer. 

Autism has become a cheap insult! 

I enjoy videos games. 

I may not be good at them but I enjoy them and I’ve made one of two good friends through them. 

But video game forums can be particularly toxic. They bring out the worst in people. They bring out a win at all costs and poke fun at the less able sentiment in people. They can be a breeding ground for cheap jibes, racist and sexist comments and the equation of being less capable, with disability. 

And comparing lack of ability to Autism is now commonplace. 

Which is odd given that a sizeable proportion of players are on the spectrum, know games and their lore inside out are very capable players. 

Several times I have had to pull people up about the comparison. 

The other day a clan mate posted in our clans forum “PSN has gone Autistic!”  

PSN is Playstation Network and, at the time he posted, it was running very slowly and erratically and downloads had crawled along at a snails pace. 

I remarked ” Really ?. That’s interesting. I’m Autistic lol” 

In fairness to the person concerned he immediately apologised on the forum, said he felt bad and foolish for what he said and he sent me a private message to say sorry. Of course I accepted it, he wasn’t being malicious and we moved on. 

No harm done. 

Except, in the wider picture, it just shows how Autism is perceived. That we are slow, erratic, don’t do what’s expected and, in other comparisons I’ve seen, that we are all incredibly stupid, can’t do things properly, have no talent and should be put down! 

And those comments are almost always malicious. 

Our clan leader sent me a message as he had observed the posts. He has a child with Aspergers, like me, so was interested in what happened. He thought I handled the situation well and maturely (I am 50 so I hope that’s true lol) but I did point out that it’s now become a commonplace and cheap jibe to throw out there. 

And it shouldn’t be. 

I’m not the butt of your jokes. And your “jokes” are based on a totally inaccurate and inadequate knowledge of Autism. You make yourself look foolish and only embarrass yourself by choosing to equate what you perceive as inadequacy with Autism. If I lose I say well played, if I win I say hard luck. I don’t equate your performance with a mental or physical deficiency. 

I can poke fun at myself. I might not be a skilful player. I may not be the best. But you get a wholehearted effort in the name of fun, from me. 

So stop using Autism as a cheap jibe. 

Rise above it. 

You know you can if you want to. 

Please ? 

Britains got talent ! (So where the hell is mine?) 

People with Aspergers are supposed to have talents! 

Real talents. 

Not all autistic people do but those of us who are at the high functioning end ( and here excuse me whilst I laugh hollowly as I rarely if ever feel “high” functioning) are supposed to have a talent. 

Except mines gone off on an extended vacation. 

It might even have emigrated. 

Or brexited early! 

I’ve never felt talented. I’ve never thought I was good at anything. My brain doesn’t seem to be in the slightest remarkable. I can’t speed read a book and give you word 6, line 3, page 284 instantly. I don’t know pi to a million places. I can’t produce great art from memory (I can’t produce enough great art at all). I can’t do complex maths in my head (I have failed every maths exam ever). I can’t speak a foreign language, play a sport, play a musical instrument… or produce world peace at the drop of a hat!. 

When people ask (and they do occasionally, or when drunk…) “Aren’t you supposed to be really clever ?”. I stress the word ‘supposed” in my response. Yes I am supposed to be. But I am not. 

Everyone I know has more brains than me. They see how to deal with life and know, almost instantly, what to do and when. I can’t deal with life so my talent certainly isn’t in that direction either. 

Academically, always a measure of ability (apparently) I simply don’t exhibit anything remarkable or clever. I failed more exams than I passed and never went to university. So there’s no talent there either. 

Work is always a tricky topic. I am good at my job. I have been good at other jobs. But then I think that, in my current role, I am stretching the word good about as far as it can go. I blag. I talk rubbish. I don’t feel confident in the slightest. Partly why I won’t take the next exam in my post is because I know I’ll fail badly. I just don’t know stuff. I’m not talented. 

If my brain felt remotely sharp and focused and wasn’t dulled by two strokes and fibromyalgia, I might feel differently, or, at least, more confident that there was something, somewhere, I was good at. 

But I’m not sure I ever have been good at anything. 

Talentless. 

If Britains got talent …

What happened to mine ?. 

If your job is killing you then you’re 

In the wrong job. 

Life as someone on the Autistic spectrum, is hard. 

I’m talking personally here and appreciating we all have different tolerance levels and the ability to cope, or not, with what life throws at us. 

And work takes up a decent percentage of my week, 4 days (28 hours) and various hours travelling to and from. 

Of course that’s not a great deal when compared with others but it’s enough for me. In fact it’s too much for me. 

I work for a charity. I give tax advice to elderly people ( or people aged over 60) and it’s killing me. 

The unpredictability of the phone calls, the sometimes aggressive or ranting caller, the emotional overload from recently bereaved callers, the frustration of trying to explain over and over again, what to put on a form. 

That’s the job. 

Then there’s the environment. 

Stifling in summer, freezing in winter, badly heated, too many people in a short space, too much noise, one light, above me, much brighter than the others in the office, noise from the garage behind me, the banging of high heels on the wooden stairs, the stupid doorbell, the smells from the kitchen, the faltering internet, the database freezing and crashing, the unpredictability of staff moods….

The list goes on! 

I don’t want to see pictures of half naked firemen on someone’s phone, I don’t want to hear about your husbands stamina and your sexual exploits in your car, I don’t want to here someone’s “shagged” someone else, or that you actually think comparing penis size is something acceptable at work!. 

Yes there’s banter, yes there’s time to chill but some people need to realise we are there to work rather than give graphic details of their sex lives!. And some people really ought to be careful because if I, as a man, did those things, I’d be out on my ear for sexual harassment! 

So I loathe it. 

Not everyone. Not all the time. 

But I loathe it. It’s a slow death. 

I long for a role in which I am valued. In which I give value. I need something that encourages and addresses my interests, something I want to get up for, something to live for. 

Because this can’t go on. 

I’m Autistic. I’m in pain. 

And my job is killing me. 

Talking politics…and no more nasty! 

I never thought the day would come when I wrote this. 

I thought people had sense, weren’t just pulled along by the media, had minds of their own and weren’t gullible enough to believe everything they see and read. 

How wrong I was ! 

Many people who I follow on Twitter and who express political views, vote Labour. And that’s fine. They have a view and they express it free from abuse and supported by those who share their views. 

But if you vote Tory you get subjected to vile comments and threats. People think it’s clever to call Ian Duncan Smith a “psychopath” or Jeremy Hunt a “cunt” because, well, it rhymes so it must be clever mustn’t it ?. 

I’ve never heard anyone who I know votes Tory say anything nasty in that personal sense, about anyone in another party. But the left think it’s their right. They think it makes them sound tough. It shows the depth of their hatred. 

It’s also stupid and silly. 

The Tories are the nasty party. Labour want to be warm and fuzzy and loved. The Tories don’t give a damn. And that’s why they win elections. Because you know what you will get with a Tory government, especially these days. Labour are full of ideals but think money grows on trees to pay for everything, to boost benefits, renationalise this and that, allow unfettered immigration..

It makes me laugh when people say the Tories protect their own. They look after the wealthy and privileged it’s said. 

But nobody on the left admits that Labour are in thrall to the unions and protect “their” own by promises to repeal trade union laws that actually have the country working!. No, that’s acceptable. 

 Labour supporters are blinkered, but can’t admit it. 

Most voted for Blair but now distance themselves. He was really a Tory they argue, he wasn’t “real” Labour. Excuses again. 

And this is what annoys me about politics. People unwilling to accept responsibility. At all levels. 

Yes I vote conservative. Yes it’s with a small c. I’m not a die hard and I’ve also voted independent if I found the candidate alluring enough (oh for 650 of those in parliament). I am sure I will now get called racist and be subjected to abuse for admitting I vote that way but, since I worked in a Jewish community and travel widely in Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist countries, nothing could be further from the truth. 

All parties have some good in them. All have some bad. But pictures of Mrs May dressed a Nazi ?. Beyond the pale. Because they talk about immigration and listing foreign workers ?. Something that’s done in other countries by the way. Because they are thinking about what it means to be British ?. Another swear word these days. And being British seems to be as unacceptable as being Christian these days. 

I don’t care how you vote. I would rather you voted than didn’t. But vote based on education. Actually read people’s words, don’t just read the headline, perpetuated by a political press leaning one way or the other, and rely on that. 

And stop being nasty. Grow up. Think for yourself. Stop following the crowd. 

If Labour get in I won’t be in the streets demanding a recount. I will trust JC knows what he’s doing and get on with my life. I’m sure he’s a nice bloke and I’d have a cup of tea with him and shake him by the hand if I met him. That’s being respectful. That’s giving someone the time of day even if you don’t agree. I won’t be on Twitter posting pictures of him dressed as Stalin or anyone else!. 

So stop being nasty. 

Please.