Treeing up the wrong bark!

It costs more if you want colour!.

Today I am inching closer to some sort of resolution concerning my work. I say that more in hope than expectation but by tomorrow evening I will have fulfilled my side of the bargain and taken the requisite advice from the pensions experts.

Then it will be down to work to decide on if they want to release me or what other options are available to me. They haven’t offered any thus far and I get the feeling that they are just waiting so they can let me go. There has been ample opportunity to reach out to me but they’ve not availed themselves of those opportunities and that’s fine, it’s their choice and I don’t know how I would feel if they did reach out, not now.

So, what comes next?

I’ve been asking myself that and basically struggling to come up with sensible answers. Apparently winning the lottery is not sensible.

There’s benefits to sort but then there’s also a question of employment or self-employment. If the former, what’s suitable for a 56 year old Autistic guy with ADHD?..if self-employed then what’s suitable for a 56 etc etc etc.

I’d love to write full time. But that needs to produce results and I need beta readers and editors and proof readers of which I have none. Or rather I have one but she’s very busy. And then there’s photography, something I’d love to be good at but am pretty useless at. Any good picture I take is very much luck over judgement.

Then there’s YouTube. My partner thinks I should start a channel reading my poetry or talking about Autism. Or there advocacy of some kind. Or this, or that, or something else. If I knew what I was actually good at then this wouldn’t be an issue at all.

But let’s get work sorted out first and then; then I’m open to suggestions.

So if anyone has any, please feel free. You’ll find me somewhere in the trees, daydreaming about what I could have been. Or still might be.

And the wait goes on..

I’m still waiting.

Still waiting to know what the future will bring. Still waiting on pension company’s to provide information they promised a fortnight ago and without which I can’t make a decision about leaving work.

Still waiting, probably without hope, that work are going to acknowledge the mistakes they made and the factual inaccuracies upon which they relied in my OH referral. Still waiting for them to hold up their hands and say ‘Let’s talk’ even if that talking gets us nowhere.

Still waiting for my partner to make up her mind. If our hand is forced, which way will she twist?. Will she stay or go? Do we move and buy or stay and rent? Which is best? Can she say goodbye to people she has worked for over the last 30 years? Can she face moving with all it will entail? Can I persuade her to make a start on clearing the clutter and things we haven’t seen in 10 years?

Is there any hope?.

And what does the future hold for me? Employment? Self employment? People tell me I have these skills then clam up when I ask them what they are. There are no fancy qualifications in this boys background and at 56, Autistic and with ADHD, there are few obvious and sensible career choices. The last thing I need is into the frying pan out of the fire..or the other way around!.

And I hate waiting. This feeling of being in limbo, of not knowing, of being helpless. The powerlessness of it all. Wracked by indecision and with no support to sit down with and go through the pros and cons of each decision, to identify possible careers, to…advise.

I hate waiting. I hate it but it’s a necessary evil.

Please make it stop.


I’m going to start this blog by saying that I do acknowledge the adjustments that work have made for me and I am grateful for them.

However,there are wider issues at stake and whilst those adjustments are welcome, I believe that work has a fundamental lack of insight into Autism and ADHD and that lack of insight means that they do not give sufficient thought to how changes will affect me and how best to support me through those changes.

What I want is not, I believe, out of reach. I am not asking for the moon but for certain admissions as to mistakes made previously and an understanding of how we can move things forward. That is why I want this OH report and not for any other reason.

So what I would like is :-

1. Advance notice of any changes that will affect me. Those are changes to work procedures that affect how I work, my working conditions or the nature of the work itself. Managers should ask themselves how the changes affect me, not how I can be fitted into the changes.

2. To be trained first. I wanted to see the new systems first but was not able to achieve that. Instead I was the last to see them and the timing left a great deal to be desired.

3. An understanding of Autism and ADHD. Whether this is through training from an outside agency or some other method is really down to time and expense. I have provided links to websites and have been assured that those links have been read but I think they need to hear from someone with personal knowledge of how Autism affects my life.

4. Work to make me feel less of a burden. Because I have Fibromyalgia I find I sometimes have to work outside expected hours when I feel up to the task and so my logging in should not be so closely monitored so as to feel that I am under pressure and being watched. There is also the Autistic need to be in control that should be recognised.

I don’t want to be an inconvenience but rather be recognised as an asset. I want to work with them, not against them but the overwhelming stress in my life is caused by the actions of those at work. I’m not saying those actions are deliberate or targeted but rather inadvertent acts and omissions.

So that’s it really. I shall await OH with interest. Until then, I simply wait.

Into the hole we go…

Down, down, deeper and down! I believe it was Status Quo who said that…or sang it..and here we are again, in the hole, deeper and deeper.

It’s not the bottom of course because there is no bottom. Beneath the bedrock you will find a myriad of caverns just waiting for the unwary soul to set foot, or in my case, slide on their arse, into.

So why am I hear? Here? Yes I know, I know and I can’t be bothered to change it.

Work. Look, I’m not blaming work because the work is valuable and we change peoples lives for the better but when you are helping vulnerable people you like to think your employer understands vulnerability and will go out of their way to help you.

And sure, if I worked in an organisation that was thousands string I might get lost in the mix but I’m one of thirty so…his hard can it be?

Have they made adaptations for me? Yes. I work from home …but then we all do, and I don’t answer the phone and do emails instead.

So what’s the issue?. How long do you have to read this?.

Training is rushed and new systems brought in at the busiest time of year. My colleagues aren’t sure if they are doing things correctly and then that confuses me as I question if I should do what they do or if I’m right or wrong. Managers aren’t visible and we don’t know what they’re doing. Emails to them vanish into the void and go unanswered.

I send lists of cases to be checked but get no feedback so I don’t know if I’m doing things right. Then I find that part of my job and that of a colleague is actually not included in the training but is overlooked and so we have to try and cobble things together because managers have forgotten us.

Then they change my job behind my back but don’t have the courtesy to ask me first. Then they change it again, same thing. There’s no dialogue, no communication and after so many times of this I’m at the end of my tether.

I’m Autistic, I have ADHD, I have anxiety disorder and Dysthymia. I also have Fibromyalgia. It all adds up.

I say to them, can I please see this in advance? Can I be told that? Can I have advance warning? Can changes be discussed before they happen? I don’t think these are unreasonable requests and yet they ignore them and bring things in, expecting conformity and the Autistic guy adapting and bending to what they want rather than allowing me time to get comfortable with the changes and point out the illogical ideas they often contain.

And I have bent but now I’m breaking.

We can’t ring each other for advice. We are monitored and spied upon. We are now a call centre in all but name and the mood of the staff has sunk to an all time low (again). The managers obsess about numbers rather than substance and you feel like your job is unimportant and not what the charity is about..when it’s ALL the charity is about because it’s the Charity’s role.

It’s a constant, exhausting fight, wracked with anxiety and constant changes. Log this, log that, don’t log that, log that but this way and not that, remind them, set a task here, close this, open that, change this, don’t change that. It’s bewildering and the instructions come thick and fast often contradictory to the last ones.

Am I right? Am I wrong? if they are right then I am wrong but if they’re wrong then I’m right? What the actual F… where is the feedback? Am I doing it right? Is silence an acknowledgement that I am? Or haven’t they checked things? I don’t know.

Once upon a time we were a happy office. Sure there were stresses but they were manageable (to a degree) but then things changed and dark clouds gathered. We became less a little charity but an organisation that became too corporate and now had a manager for everything whilst the staff were ignored.

People left, resigning and saying they felt undermined, that communication sucked a big one and that they felt of no value. The message didn’t sink in and all we got was a thanks for hard work and we may or may not recruit to replace them. No acknowledgment of the underlying issues.

In truth I feel lost. I know others feel it but won’t speak up and managers insist all is well. It’s not but hey, let’s not rock any boats!.

So I feel isolated, the Autistic weird guy who causes trouble. The rebel, the gobshite who picks fault with everything. The one who won’t conform to the vision, who doesn’t get the plan or see the wider picture. That’s how I feel .

Me. The guy who works hours he shouldn’t, who logs in on days he doesn’t work, who doesn’t take all his leave, who works bank holidays and weekends, who helps others, who gets stuff done!. Because that’s it, that’s my job, to help those who need it and so I have gone over and above to give a service and follow the motto of the charity, the aim- to give help to all who need it.

And yet, when I need help, they listen and do not act.

They say that charity begins at home. But not, clearly, when home is your workplace.

I am tired. I am beaten. I am done.

Falling down ….again.

This malaise is wearing me down. The apathy, the drudgery, the sameness of it all.

I think I should write my blog but then those feelings work their way into my psyche and beat me down and I realise there’s no point because I have nothing to say, or nothing to say that people want to hear.

I’ve lost enthusiasm. I’ve lost the ability and poetry seems a struggle now. In fact I can’t recall the last time I poured myself into writing any.

I read stuff by others and my sense of failure just grows. So much better than anything I can write, more lucid, more fitting, more cutting, just better in every aspect. My once flourishing vocabulary now seems pitiful in comparison.

The day seems long. Just one continuous day broken by occasional episodes of disrupted sleep. Is this 2021 or 2020 part 2?. Nothing changes and the light at the end of the tunnel is hidden behind layers of gloom. The weather is miserable, constantly dreary and grey with the hills hidden in the mist and the repetitive nature of my limited exercise only adds to my misery. Familiarity is indeed breeding contempt.

Work is work. Unchanging, miserable, dreary, like the weather.

I should be happy?. Autistic happy?. Routine, no distractions, no people? But I’m not. I just yearn for brighter days and something different because although the routine and lack of distractions are lovely, this isn’t my choosing, this isn’t my set up. I’m cramped on a tiny table, missing the things I need, struggling to cope when I get calls I can’t handle, wary of another meltdown and wanting to cry,

I’m forced into it. No time to arrange…sort myself out but thrust cruelly into the situation and trying to do my best…and then feeling it’s not enough.

I’m not alone, I know that but my ADHD is rampant and my Autistic senses are in overdrive. I’m masking even though I don’t need to because I can’t get through to people and get them to see. I seem to spend my life worrying that I can’t educate others about me and that’s yet another failure on my part. It’s so tiring and confusing.

Travel, my love, is now so unlikely I feel my heart breaking. I can see no light in the tunnel nor feel the heat upon my skin. I’m beaten down by others, the anti-vaxxers, the headline quotes who never read the whole story but use the headline to make false points, the liars, the cheats and just the nasty vicious inhabitants of social media and the wider world.

The news destroys me with its unrelenting misery. It’s continual focus on death and gloom and trauma. It’s giving me ptsd just from watching the horrors unfold. I know they are there, I know they are happening but is there nothing good in this world?. Nothing good that is newsworthy? Nothing happy?.

I’m tired. I’m tired of everything. I’m tired of living. I’ve had enough.

I’m falling down.


But this time I don’t want to get up again.

Almost time..

Almost time to return to work. Five weeks goes fast when you’re not having fun and whilst the panic attacks have momentarily subsided, the anxiety is as bad as ever.

I don’t want to go back, job changes or not. I don’t want to feel worthless again and helpless and feel I’m letting the side down because I can’t cope but next Monday that frightful cycle begins again.

I’m tired of it all. Tired of not getting my point across and having to work so damn hard just to get simple things done. It’s so exhausting and wears me down before I even start so I always feel as though I’m playing catch up all the time and when you have mental illness on top of the agony of fibromyalgia then every day seems like a battle from the outset and leaves you mentally and physically exhausted.

I’m not a sheep but from Monday I will have to be. My colleagues have amply demonstrated their lack of support or lack of enthusiasm to go along with my ramblings as that’s how they see them, the ramblings of an unhappy soul who some view with utter contempt whilst others are happier to simply dismiss as troubled or odd. It’s a lonely struggle that’s for sure.

And they can’t see that I’m always on their side, fighting for them, looking out for them but it’s no use, they don’t care about me or what I’m trying to achieve.

And that’s just it. I’m achieving nothing, nothing at all but giving myself more heartache by my continued struggle on other people’s behalf.

So I’m back next Monday. Back and dreading it already, dry mouth, sinking feeling in stomach. Tired already, worn thin and worn out. I’m back and I may not survive.

The weight of expectation..

My football team should walk the league.

No doubt about it. Every other team is so inferior that they should just submit and let us win.

That was the attitude of some fans before the season started. Now we are third from bottom with 4 points from 7 games. And the football is..not good.

That’s the weight of expectation playing on the players minds. Half the time they’re paralysed by indecision and afraid to take any risks.

And there’s the rub.

Because the parallels are there with my own life. I’m constantly afraid to make a change or a choice and I’m very reluctant to take any risks. Of course I’m not alone here, I have someone else to think about but I wish I had that clarity, that moment when I could see the future and everything fell into place.

But that moment never comes.

I’m constantly stressed and anxious about work and wish I could just leave but the climate isn’t right to get a new one and my age and health are against me. Plus being Autistic means that the right job is always harder to find.

I feel torn in so many ways. My colleagues with their nice houses and partners in well paid jobs are something I aspire to but down here average house prices are about 10 times the average UK salary and I don’t even earn half of one UK salary..and my partner earns less than half of what I do.

Which brings on moving to an area where property is cheaper. And where I don’t have a job and that brings up stress and anxiety about money and finding work. And that sucks.

It’s also a horrible time to be house hunting anywhere. Viewing is fraught with restrictions and dangers and you can’t really drive up and down the country passing through covid hotspots to look at them. That’s a risk not worth taking at this time.

Do I have unrealistic expectations of myself?

I don’t know because my mind is really unhelpful when it comes to decisions. It hates making them. My Autistic/ADHD brain goes all gooey and soft and it wobbles like a jelly instead of saying “Do this!” and telling me to get on with it.

I had dreams but now they seem to imaginary and faded that it’s no longer wise to have them. Circumstances alter cases and my mind, my partners needs and this sorry world we live in have all contributed to my lack of decision making in recent years. How I hope that changes.

When you’re having fun…

I’ve been away from work for two and a half weeks now. I’m exactly half way through my planned leave and unplanned sick absence.

And I’m no better.

I’m not worse but I’m no better.

I’m tired of trying to explain myself. A 6 page email apparently doesn’t cut it and an offered conference call with management simply fills me with dread. I just can’t face it. I keep repeating myself and I can’t make them see so the thought of doing it again, through a medium that’s failed so often before, just hurts me.

If I was asking for the earth I’d understand it but I’m really not, just proper communication and clarity. Exact details of what I can and cannot do or have in terms of reasonable adjustments, open lines of communication that are simple in terms of the language used and advance notice, where possible, of any proposed changes that will affect me.

I’m so tired of this. I applaud the aims of the charity I work for and the good work that’s done by my colleagues. We do good stuff. The fact is not appreciated by those higher up is a constant source of frustration and disappointment to me. Or if they do appreciate it then they have a strange way of showing it!

I’ve sat and simply dwelled on the past, what I did or didn’t do, said or didn’t say, or even should have said. I’ve had crippling anxiety and panic attacks, my weights ballooned and I’ve been sick with nausea. My sleep is a mess and my diet is horrible. The only good thing about the latter is that at least I am eating. But that’s it.

I can’t settle to anything because I’m restless and worried about the things happening in my absence, the cases I was dealing with, the inevitable build up of work and all I want to do is cry or run away and cry or find a dark hole, curl up and cry or …cry some more.

When you’re having fun you don’t want it to stop. Well I want to stop now, stop here, stop everything. I want the fun to start but I don’t know how to make it start because I’m all out of puff and strength and …those good wholesome qualities we all need.

Two and a half weeks down, two and a half to go.

What fun!

If my colleagues think I’m shirking…

If my colleagues think I’m shirking,

When I really should be working,

Then I don’t know what to say,

Because on any other day,

I’ve more than done my share,

Not that they really care,

That I’ve done more than I should,

Or that I thought I would and could,

Logged on when not at work,

(Not an ideal way to shirk)

Non working days, weekends,

I’ve been driven round the bends,

Bank holidays (they’re not),

I’ve logged on, have you forgot?

To keep the clients happy,

Want an answer? Make it snappy,

Gone well beyond the call,

Which has resulted in this fall,

Driven to distraction,

By poor planning and inaction,

By strategy befuddled,

My poor head it’s sore and muddled,

Without warning, in my lap,

So many changes made me snap,

Now I’m knackered and down hearted,

Perhaps its time we parted?

Disillusioned, full of panic,

I’ve lost heart, I’m going manic,

I’m anxious and I’m scared,

(Not that anybody cared)

And now I’ve lost my way,

And the strength to meet the day,

I’m tired and need a rest,

Told the doctor, they know best,

So dear colleagues whilst you’re working,

I’m sorry if I’m shirking,

But I’ve lost my strength and hope,

And I’m sure that you will cope!.

Setting the record straight


I’m ill. Not in a physical sense that I’ve got a cold or a fever or worse but ill in the sense that I’ve had enough; given up; am hacked off, depressed, and at the end of my tether.

I’m taking a break from work. After 140 plus days of continuous logging on through days off, bank holidays and leave, I’ve walked away from the rat race to give myself a chance to breathe.

I’ve written a six page letter to my CEO setting out a long list of things, concerns, that I think should be addressed. I will spare you all the details save to say that I feel rather used and dirty, a bit exploited and a little bit, no a lot, undervalued.

Sometimes you just have to do it. Sometimes you either do it or you break and I’ve gone with option one over option two even though, deep inside, I know that option one will probably get me nowhere because, how can I say, past attempts have only led to greater frustration and promises made that were not kept.

I’m tired. Tired of being ignored when I think I could offer good ideas and help for everyone and yet nobody is interested and, because of my role, I’m just expected to be quiet and let my superiors do as they please. Not a chance!

I’m a rebel. Not intentionally in the sense that I’m not advocating a rebellion but rather in the sense that I dislike illogicality and want a clear vision, properly costed, properly thought out and fair to all and if I don’t see it then I’m going to question why not.

Of course that brings me into conflict with those far superior in position to myself for they dislike any questioning of their plans but I can’t just accept something I don’t understand because of the damage it does to myself and the anxiety and pain it causes me. I’m not trying to be awkward but sometimes you just want answers.

And it’s not only me. I know my colleagues won’t rock the boat and I know some of them are genuinely enthusiastic and if they are that’s great and cool..but for them, not me. I need those answers to satisfy myself that the future doesn’t mean more pain for me, more anxiety, more panic attacks or bashing my knuckles into a brick wall. I’m not them, I’m me. And I need those answers in case others forget to ask or would have asked but lacked courage to.

I keep reminding people I’m Autistic and sometimes that’s half the battle, fighting to prove that it’s not one size fits all and allowances have to be made for my unique views because if I’m happy then yay, less chance of me upsetting anyone else. Sadly that message rarely gets through.

My letters in now. 6 pages of observations, questions, pleadings and gently controlled frustration. I don’t know if it will make a scrap of difference, I don’t know if anyone cares enough to not simply dismiss it but hey, you have to stand up sometimes even if you end up being knocked down again.

I’m watching and I’m waiting, not anticipating much, but we will see.