It’s Time to Talk

6th September 2020

I haven’t posted in a while because I haven’t had the energy. I was also busy looking after the dogs and the house while my parents and brother were on holiday, so I simply didn’t have time. The whole situation was a change for me and any change takes time for me to get used to. Even my parents returning has unsettled me slightly because it’s getting used to the house being full again. I won’t lie it has made me more prepared and even eager to move out because having my own space is really nice. But I do love having my family around me.

There isn’t much I can think of to write about partly because there is so much on my mind that I could write about that my mind goes blank. I’ve also recently learnt about how autistic people struggle with executive functions which could be why I struggle initiating tasks sometimes (I will write another post about executive function once I learn more about it). Other things that have happened recently is the cancellation of mine and my boyfriend’s holiday to Finland which was upsetting for both of us, and yet another change to get used to. I’m also starting Uni again soon, but my Uni has decided to cut the English department staff in half. They still haven’t made a final decision as to which staff are leaving so, I’m going into my final year not knowing if the modules I chose will even go ahead. Going into the year with uncertainty is obviously a big problem for me. So, this is causing me a lot of anxiety but there’s nothing I can do so I’m just putting it to the back of my mind.

I also had a call the other day from a service called Time to Talk. I had been referred to them via my doctors for counselling which I think I need. They had called me once, but I ignored it because the number was unknown. I basically never answer the phone so if the number is unknown then you have no chance of contacting me. Luckily, they left a voicemail even though they weren’t supposed to (no idea why but the woman said halfway through the voicemail that she just realised she’s not allowed to leave a voicemail and then hung up). They called a few days later and I was about to answer but I couldn’t. Luckily though, the lady rang a second time straight after which put enough pressure on me to answer the phone. This was a massive achievement for me because I hate talking on the phone for some reason (I have no idea why). She started by asking for a bit of background and about my previous counselling experiences. I told her about my previous counsellor who got me hormone testing which all came back clear and then ended the sessions with the words “I don’t know what’s wrong with you”. The woman on the phone was very supportive and told me that the counsellors I had seen are unwise and that there is nothing wrong with me. She then advised me that the Time to Talk service wouldn’t suit me because I could end up getting a counsellor who maybe doesn’t understand autism. She suggested some other services like Lifelong service or West Sussex Learning Disability service. She said these would be better as they have clinical psychologists (yay I’ve been upgraded from counsellors to psychologists). She said she would have to contact my doctors to get them to refer me, so we have basically gone around in circles again. She did mention to me that sometimes doctors don’t understand which service is best for a person, which I totally agree with. My experiences with doctors have been appalling. There are too many incidents to count, though I have found a doctor now who understands me so much better and he helped me out a lot. I remember going to get referred for an autism assessment and the woman doing it was just ignoring everything we said, and I was silent because I hate doctors and tend not to talk to them (yes, my mum still has to come with me). Maybe I would have been able to speak to them if I hadn’t had such bad experiences with them, just saying. Anyway, she made me look in her eyes and told me that I have to speak to her in order for her to understand. I hated her I felt like running out of the room. She ended that appointment by saying I probably wouldn’t get referred. Well I did in the end…. Because thankfully the actual experts (from the limited info from the doctor herself) managed to work out that I probably did have autism. The questionnaire they sent me then also suggested I have autism, so I don’t know how the doctor was looking at me (completely silent and overwhelmed with anxiety) and thought oh yeah, she looks fine. Anyway, I’ve gone off on a tangent. Basically, the lady on the phone told me that finding services, especially for autism, is like a maze. And it is. I’ve been stuck in this maze wince I was 14, but finally I might be able to get some help. I had always said I wouldn’t do talking therapies because of the failure of the previous counsellors, but if I eventually get referred to the correct service, with people who understand me then I would love to take any help I can get.

I want to end on some of the positive things the woman said to me. She was lovely and ended up giving me a bit of a pep talk which helped. She gave me multiple analogies about how everyone is different. She said think of all the billions of people that have lived on this earth and no two people have the same fingerprint. The same goes for us and our brains, we are all unique. She then told me that when you are young everyone is desperate to fit in, but she said that as she has got older, she has gone the opposite way and doesn’t want to be the same, she would rather be unique, so being different isn’t a negative thing, in fact it’s just a part of life. She also told me to never put my happiness in the hands of other people. She compared it to having a diamond and asking a stranger to look after the diamond. She said, “your happiness is valuable, don’t leave it in the hands of people you don’t know”. I thought that was good advice, as cheesy as it is, some people out there might be in need of words like this.

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