Thursday, 28 June 2012

Positive things

Yesterday I finally handed in that key at my old job, so now I officially don’t have to think about these things anymore! It feels like a weight off me.

Yesterday evening I decided to join a project which my best friend is working on. I’ll probably write more about this once we know more things for certain. The thing I can tell you already is that he was planning a Game Night and someone mentioned he could make it a charity raising event. The charity that we’re most likely going to raise money for ended up being autism, since a lot of autistic people have the tendency to like gaming. Not all autistic people, but a lot of them do. So this is a great link. I can’t promise anything yet on this subject, but this is the most likely thing that’s going to happen and we’re already working on the planning.

Working on an event with my best friend, who I know I can work very well with, is just the thing I need to get my spirits up after a week of sadness. Now I have something positive to think about and I can regain some confidence by doing something I know I’m good at. I love this project. It keeps me busy and it keeps me happy.

Today I also made a start on some small sponge cakes with my sister (I don’t have any pictures, since they’re not done yet) and I had a driving lesson. This driving lesson went great. We focused on a lot of things that had to do with steering, which I seem to be quite good at. This also gave me confidence.

So yesterday evening and today were some real confidence boosters! Just what I needed!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Not my day

After I have been fired, I was asked to return on Tuesday to hand in my stuff. So I called in to schedule when I should arrive and arrived. I had an hour until I had to go to physical therapy, but figured this should’ve been enough for just handing in my stuff. My sister also happened to need something in the city, so she decided to drive me there and afterwards also drive me to physical therapy, which is very nice of her.

When I arrived, I handed in my stuff as we agreed. There was a key that I couldn’t just hand in at my team leader, but that has to go to administration and I would get the money back that I had to give in return for the key for save keeping. It’s so they would be sure I would look after the key. So we went to administration and… they weren’t there. My team leader asked a colleague where they were and he said ‘oh, on a break, must be back in 5 to 10 minutes.’

My team leader was very busy, so he asked me if I could handle it by myself. I could and my sister was fine with it too, so I agreed. My sister and I just had a look around the store and in 15 minutes we checked the administration office again. Nope. Nobody except for a cranky old lady who simply said ‘No.’ with a very annoyed look when I asked her if she was allowed to handle me handing in my key.

Quite annoyed, my sister and I decided to get the thing that my sister needed from the city and then return to check the office again. So we went to get her stuff (not everything she needed was there and this was already the second time she went to that shop, the last time it turned out to be closed) and then we went back again. This took us just over another 15 minutes. So in total, we’ve waited for the administration office for over half an hour now (and the first half hour was gone by walking there and handing in my other stuff). Guess what? Still nobody there.

Very annoyed, my sister and I walked back to my team leader. He told us to return another time and see if they’re there then, since he didn’t know where they were either. This isn’t his fault, he’s not the boss of the administration office, so I simply stated that I didn’t like it and thanked him and said I’d return. Still, this was very upsetting. This means I still haven’t finished my business there. I still can’t put this whole thing behind me.

The whole thing had left me in a terrible mood and we went off to physical therapy. Upon entering the building, I usually get myself some water which is great during exercise. Last week the water machine was out of water and it had no plastic cups either (luckily my physical therapist was in a good mood and brought me a cup of tea instead). This week, as is my luck, the water machine was out of water and cups again. There happened to be a few cups at the desk at the entrance of physical therapy, which means I could get water from the tap in my physical therapist her office, but she was still busy talking to a patient, which meant her door was closed shut. Did I mention yet that it was about 24 degrees Celsius (75,2 Fahrenheit) outside?

I stepped into the training room, where I’m usually expected to just start my routine if she isn’t done with a patient yet, and it was just as warm there as it was outside. I felt just awful training in that warmth. Usually they have the air conditioning on there… Later my physical therapist got in the room and she asked me why I was training at such a weird level. Turned out that I pushed the button next to the right one, making my training more difficult. No wonder the heat got to me so badly! I mentioned the heat to her and she said the a/c was on. I told her it wasn’t. One of the great things of Asperger’s: I usually notice when the air around me is different from the usual. She kept telling me it was on, until she listened closely and agreed that there’s usually a buzzing noise. She changed some settings and the a/c turned on. After this training got a bit better.

As you can probably understand, I got home in a very bad mood and very tired. I ended up taking a very much needed nap in bed.
That evening I got into some arguments with some people too, but in respect for them I won’t write about that.

Monday, 25 June 2012

The city

This will simply be a small update, as not a lot has happened.

The city went okay. The weather was very hot and humid... So it quickly took my energy. This was good in a way, since it distracted me from everything else. But I also didn't want to spend much time in the city, as my energy was quickly draining.

Also, there were road workers busy working on the road (as road workers tend to do). They produced a lot of noise, making the city an even less desireable place to be. My sister disliked the weather and the road workers too, so we quickly purchased our stuff and got out of the city.

All this made me quite cranky, but at the same time distracted me from every memory association around me, which is good. So while I disliked these things, in some way they helped. Tomorrow I'll have to stop by at my previous job to hand in my stuff. After that I'll be done there.

Memory association

At the moment I'm in bed, but I can't sleep. My sister asked me to come to the city centre with me and I happily agreed. It wasn't until this night that I started having troubles with it.

Why? Because of memory association. I have strong connections to certain things, places, scents, music, etc. A big event (to me) can create such a bond. Now, most people have associations like this, but for me, they're really strong. I heard more autistic people have this.

It's not just remembering certain memories. It's reliving them with the feelings and all. It doesn't always affect me as heavily, but sometimes it just comes crashing down on me. There are even certain songs I can't listen to without crying and I've thrown away certain pictures, because they were breaking me up.
At the same time there are things, like my events badges for example, that have me smiling by just looking at them.

These associations to memories can be both good and bad. I try to surround myself with things that are associated with good memories. But what if whole places became attached to bad memories?

That's what happened. Simply thinking about the city centre already has me crying now. Even the route there is too much to bare. Going there by bus will have a lot of bad memories by itself. The first bus stop shows the health centre I've been to from birth. Since my Chronic Fatigue it has transformed into a constant reminder of my struggles, since I've been there frequently since then.

At the second stop I can see the building where I had my administration job. Where I got fired because of the many days I was absent because of my Chronic Fatigue.
Also, the bus rides under the train station, which holds many memories to long lost friends and boyfriends.

At the third stop we're at the old part of the city centre. Here lay a lot of memories, too much to write down. Friends, boyfriends, bullies... both still here and lost... in many different ways...

The fourth stop leads to the last stop still in the city centre. Still the old part, but close to the new part. This is where I needed to be for my last job, which obviously still hurts me a lot. Also, this is where I'll need to be to get to the right shop when I go into the city centre with my sister. We won't be going to the same street as my old job, but I'll be able to see it and we'll be taking the same bus route.

Also, no the bycicle or by foot won't help. This route will either give the same places, or even add my old school and/or the hospital to the list. No thanks.

But I can't keep running either. Not only will I need to be in the city centre at some point anyway, I still have clothes and the key from my previous job to hand in this Tuesday. So I'll have to face all these memories.

I've always had this problem, but losing my job has added the new part of the city centre to the list, making the picture too big to grasp. I hope I'll be able to conquer this and make the city centre accessable for me again.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Not much to say

Sorry that I’m posting so little on this blog. Don’t worry, it’s not that I just started and already decided that I’m going to drop this blog. I’m still planning on keeping this blog up-to-date. The problem is just that I don’t have much to say, or don’t know how to say it.

Last week I was too emotional to be able to figure out how to explain everything. This week there’s just not enough to write about. Like I said, I’m allowing myself to be sad for a while, so I can give everything a place and progress the whole thing. Practically this means that I’m basically sitting at home, crying a lot and playing games. This sounds bad, but it’s actually a good thing. I rarely have the time for this, since I always need to keep going, searching for jobs and things like that. I like having some time to sort out my emotions.

Of course I’ll get back to getting things done soon, but in the meanwhile I just don’t have a lot to write about. Having a blogpost every day, stating ‘cried again’, won’t really do anyone much good and won’t add anything. When I get to the point where I can get things done again, I’ll probably have things to write about again. I’m trying to make this point somewhere next week, but of course I can’t be certain.

So, don’t give up on my blog yet! I’ll be back!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

What's in a name?

There’s something that I’ve always struggled with and that’s naming things by their proper name. This has disappeared more and more over the years, since I have started to learn more and more names of things, but was the worst when I was young. What exactly do I mean with this? Allow me to explain.

When I was still in primary school, my parents used to make me my sandwiches, as is normal for most children in primary school. They would ask me what I wanted on my sandwich and I would often say “Sausage”. Of course the next logical question (if you have more types than one in your fridge) would be “What kind of sausage?” This question always caused trouble for me. “I don’t know… The thin sliced one which I always like with some mustard…” would be a normal answer for me. My parents would immediately know what I meant and correct me with the right word. I could never remember the word, so eventually I would just dismiss it and wonder why “The thin sliced ones” couldn’t just be enough. They knew what I meant right? (for the Dutch people, since I don’t know the English word: This was ‘Palingworst’)

At some point my parents introduced a new kind of sausage. They had me try it and I simply LOVED it! Add some mustard (yes, I love mustard on the sausages I put on bread) and it’s pure heaven. Later they asked me again what I wanted on my bread and I replied with “That tasty sausage.” My parents were, of course, completely confused. I mean, I now had two kinds of sausages that I thought were tasty, so what did I mean? I told them they had me try something and I loved it more than the first sausage and that I meant that one. After a few seconds of thinking they finally understood what I meant. They showed me the sausage and I happily nodded. They corrected me, again, with the right word for it and put it on my sandwich. Again, I couldn’t remember it and started calling it ‘Tasty sausage”. (in Dutch: Lekkere worst) Up to this day I still can’t remember the word. I thought it was smoked sausage? No idea. All I know is that it’s tasty.

The same thing happened with a type of conditioner for under the shower. The first conditioner I ever used was a bit grey-ish. Not completely grey, which would look terrible, but just a slight shade darker than white. My parents tried to tell me that this was conditioner and I just thought it was a very difficult word for just another type of shampoo that simply did something else in my hair. After asking for shampoo a lot, when I meant the conditioner, and after having been corrected a lot, it ended up being called ‘The Grey”. (Dutch: De Grijze) This came to be after a lot of frustrated cry-outs to my parents like “Condi… Con… You know! That grey stuff! Just give me the Grey!”

This has always been very weird to me, since I’m great at learning new languages. I started reading in kindergarten and started reading English in 2nd grade (Groep 4). I was bored to death whenever anything came to reading. Except for when we had to do “Begrijpend Lezen”. I guess this could be translated to “Reading Comprehension”. This basically meant that we had to analyse the things we were reading and when we had to use a blank space and all those kind of things. This took a long time for me to pick up. There are no straight rules for this, which got me all confused at times.

So then, why do I have trouble learning some words? There is a pattern though. It’s not just any random word that just won’t stick. It’s words that already have a category they fall under and suddenly have some weird exception to it. Fish isn’t just fish, but every fish has a name. Chairs aren’t just chairs, some chairs have name too (like: fauteuil… I thought it was?).

This was actually my first real clue to Autism, weird as it may sound. In 6th grade (groep 8) a child from my class, who has Autism, gave a presentation about Autism. He did this with his guidance counsellor helping him. At one point he tried to explain how people with Autism sometimes have trouble with just picking things up, which others just do without really thinking about it. The whole class was confused at this sentence, so the guidance counsellor stepped in and gave an easy-to-grasp example for the class to help understand it.

She held up a cup and simply told us that that was a cup. We all nodded. She told us that that may be logical and we all knew that, but that it wasn’t just any cup, but that we all know that it’s actually called a muck and that someone with Autism might just not pick that up as easily. This is where I first had my suspicion something was up. The whole class nodded at the notion that the cup was actually a muck. Instead, I made a quick mental note: “That’s a muck.”

I still have trouble understanding this quirk of mine. Why can I pick up languages so easily and even taught myself to read, but can’t I remember a few simple subcategories? One thing that I could think of, was the grey area. People have trouble understanding the so-called ‘grey area’ of things. In other words, things that aren’t as clear as you’d like them to be and can have a lot of exceptions. It might be that these subcategories are just too much in the grey area. You already learn the words for things and then you find out there are exceptions to it, which makes it have different names! Too much, too unnecessary (in my mind at least). This might be the answer.

So yea… If you ever wonder why, even after having studied for being a baker, I still can name so few baking goods… This is why. It’s not that I’m stupid. It’s just that it won’t stick. Bread is bread and at most it can be white and other shades of dark. If you want me to name them for the costumers, you better give me the words on a piece of paper, or I’ll be at a loss.

Monday, 18 June 2012


So... Today I got fired... Of course I'm really sad and have been crying a lot. They told me that they saw that I was absent way too much and didn't work fast enough. This is due to my Chronic Fatigue, so they'd rather have that I go and work on my health.

They did agree that when I was there and feeling good, that I did a good job. So I haven't been fired due to doing a poor job or anything. Being absent a lot and being slow does not only not work for them, but they also feel having a job takes too much out of me at this point. I got a lot of guidance at this job and I had similar problems at my previous jobs, so this isn't just about not being able to be a baker. It's about not being fit for a working environment.

So the plan is now that we're going to report this to the UWV (that's where I get my social security, or in Dutch; uitkering, from) and see what they have to say. My jobcoach is going to advise them to put the percentage of that they think I'm fit to work down a lot. In other words, we're going to see if we can get my hours down significantly. She's going to advise at the UWV that I can better use these hours to get the right help to work on my health. One thing we've already thought about is that we want to go to the Fatigue Centre (freely translated from: Vermoeidheidscentrum). Sorry if my English is being unusually bad at the moment. It's not every day that you need to explain things for social security in another language...

At the moment I'm just really sad. There is also a little bit of relief in the sense that I now know what I can expect, but that relief isn't making me happy, just a bit calmer. I've allowed myself to be sad over this for a while, so sorry if my blog is very sad during these days. Let's hope that my journey towards improvement will bring some more good news into this blog and also into my life. My blog was meant to bring understanding and hope. Not just show me failing at work... So I'll try hard to get my health up. For now, I'm just going to be sad for a while, so I can process this.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

After diagnosis

There’s something that keeps getting my attention and I think it’s a sad thing. A lot of people get really sad after their diagnosis. This is usually due to terrible informing of the person who gave the diagnosis about what the diagnosis will mean to the person and what the diagnosis really is about. I’ve heard people talking about psychologists/psychiatrists (sorry about this, I always forget which of the two gives the diagnosis) who told them a lot of terrible things which weren’t true and/or psychologists who forget to highlight the upsides of Autism (or any other diagnosis for that matter) too. Sometimes people even simply get the diagnosis and aren’t provided any information at all and feel lost in the dark.

I get very upset every time I see this happening. It actually upsets me to the point of frustration. Seeing someone forget about who they are because of a label.
Some people argue that labels (in other words, diagnosis’s) should be discarded all together. I’m not here to discuss this, I’m just going to state what I think about it personally. My opinion isn’t necessarily the right opinion. I don’t think we should discard it. Not with the system the government has put in place at the moment anyway. A lot (not everyone) of people with a diagnosis need guidance in certain parts of their lives and most guidance can’t be applied for without a diagnosis. The paper works usually require a diagnosis. Even some professionals refrain from giving diagnosis’s, because they’re afraid of labelling someone for life. The problem with this, in my opinion, is that you strip away a lot of opportunities for the right help.

So I don’t feel we should be fighting the diagnosis’s. Even if you want to get rid of them, first make sure the system allows for the right help to be given without a diagnosis.
Again, this is just my opinion and is in no way the only opinion out there and might just not be the right opinion. I’m not a professional, I just base my opinion on experiences.

Back to the actual getting the diagnosis. People usually hear about the struggles people with the same diagnosis have and think that they have now been sentenced to a life of struggle.
Some people even get totally misinformed. There are websites and even professionals who claim things like ‘people with Autism can’t fall in love’, or ‘people with Autism never understand jokes’ or ‘people with Autism have no emotions’ or things like that. All of the above is false.

In my past my teachers and even psychologists and therapists and the likes have told me I couldn’t possibly have Autism, since I could make eye contact (most of the time I actually look between the eyes or at the forehead…), I understood some jokes, was capable of having conversations, didn’t freak out in a new class room and had a few friends.
Nobody ever looked at the amount of effort all of the above cost me. Also, not all people with Autism are the same. Aaron always says ‘if you’ve met one person with Autism, you’ve met one person with Autism’ and I agree. (Sorry that I’m quoting him so much. Remember, I’ve been following his blog for over 3 years and have taken some of his phrases for my daily life, so it’s hard not to quote him once in a while)

Now, how can we stop these dark times after diagnosis? After I finally got my diagnosis, I was actually very happy. In fact, I couldn’t wait to tell all my friends and was doing a happy dance all day. My mindset had a lot to do with this. I think my mindset on this subject can help a lot of people who have recently gotten their diagnosis and are very down about it.

Remember this: you don’t suddenly get Autism, you’re born with it. Now, what does this mean? This means you’ve had it your whole life. Your whole life you’ve been you and you’ve been a unique person with both good and bad qualities. Even with Autism, you even had the good qualities there the whole time.
Now, there’s a good chance (doesn’t count for everyone, but if this doesn’t count for you, then remember you’re still the happy person that you are, you didn’t change) that you went to get a diagnosis, because some things weren’t going entirely smoothly in your life and you didn’t understand why. Now someone has gotten you a diagnosis and you might see this as a validation of that you’re the odd one out. You’re the thing that’s wrong. Forget this mindset now!

That’s not what your diagnosis meant. You’ve been a unique person with bad AND good qualities and you still are. Then what DOES your diagnosis mean? It means you now know what is going on. You have been given a piece of the big puzzle that is you. It’s just one piece of everything that is you, it doesn’t completely define you. This piece completes the picture and helps you understand yourself. You can now explain both to yourself and to the world why some things are happening the way they are happening.

Now, why is this a good thing? Because you can work on it. You can start by identifying which parts of this new information about yourself have been troubling you and which parts have been helping you. Now you’ve identified this, you can start working on the parts that have been troubling you and you can develop the parts that have been helping you.

So, now we can answer the question of what a diagnosis really means and what has been changed after getting the diagnosis. The things that are there were always there. What has been changed is that you can now work with it. You can improve your life by working with your new information and, if necessary, get the help you need like guidance and things like that.

This is why I think a diagnosis should be celebrated. You haven’t been sentenced to a life of hardship. You didn’t suddenly catch a terminal disease or something like that. You have been given the first step to improvement: understanding. And (yes, another Aaron quote, sorry it just fits so well) through understanding comes hope.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Not a good week - 2

This is the second part of my story of what happened this week. I said that I was short of words to properly describe how I felt, making me type way too much. As usual, Aaron Likens is way better at describing feelings with words than I am and it just so happens that he had a similar feeling. Here's the link to his blogpost: Click here.

He also perfectly described why I had such trouble putting my feelings down into words, as he went through the same here too. I'll quote him, since I just can't put it in any better words myself:

"My mission is to keep positive but life isn't 100% sunny. Even when the weatherman says there's 100% sun and 0% chance rain it can still rain (I know, it happened to us at a race two weeks ago.) Because it isn't always sunny one needs to know what to look for when it rains and I feared that some might get overly sad reading that I was so sad. I mean, I do feel a certain pressure to stay "perfect" so to speak and to always be on my game, but I'm human and on the spectrum. Emotions happen but sometimes they can confuse us and it is in these times that understanding is of the utmost importance."

Having said this, I'll finally start the next part of my blogpost.

My team leader stopped by, quite cheery actually as he usually is (I like this about him, he seems to genuinely love his job), and asked me about me not wanting to do the dishes. I explained him what happened and he simply said he understood. Only difference between him and the rest of my colleagues, is that he actually softened his tone and didn’t end in the “But still, …” sentence. I got the feeling he seriously understood and also understood I would be willing to do the dishes when I’ll be asked again, now I know what I know.

During lunch break I was in a terrible mood, because I felt like my connection with my colleagues got ruined. Towards the end of my lunch break, the colleague with who it all began happened to also take his lunch break. I told him I still didn’t like the way things were handled and we started talking. In the end, not only did we start to understand each other, but he started asking about my Asperger’s and Chronic Fatigue. I felt like he genuinely wanted to understand me and try and help me in the workplace.

Well, now I have the people who matter most in this issue back on good terms. We understand each other. But now it seems like they’re okay now and everyone else isn’t! How did this happen? How did I end up in conflict with everyone except the people involved? This whole thing has left me very upset. The word upset doesn’t even cut it. I was distraught. My world fell apart. I felt like I ruined everything somehow and I just wanted to disappear from the world. No, not in a suicidal way, but just open a hole in time and space and simply disappear in it forever.
I don’t feel right at my workplace anymore and I have no idea how to resolve this. My jobcoach told me to not even try, since there are too many people involved, and I should discuss it with my team leader. He can then think of how to best resolve this. She would also make a stop by next week. I wanted to discuss this with my jobcoach last Friday, but disaster struck again.

Friday morning I woke up and felt terrible. I had nightmares, I felt terribly dizzy, I couldn’t focus on anything and didn’t even want to think about breakfast. I told myself I had done enough damage and should get myself to work. After taking way too long with everything, my whole body felt terrible and I was already about to be late at work. Then my stomach turned upside-down (not literally of course) and I ran to the toilet and… well nothing. And it turned upside-down again and… nothing again. Duh, I didn’t eat and drink yet, I still had to get my breakfast. (like I said, everything just went way too slow, even for my standards. I took 23 minutes (yes I timed it) putting in a pony tail…)

By this time I didn’t even dare to eat or drink anything anymore. I kept puking with nothing coming out. I was sure every bite I’d take, would just end up on the ground. And to be honest? I wasn’t really hungry either, I didn’t even want to think about eating or drinking. Also, I didn’t know how I would work like this. Yes, physically I could’ve dragged myself there, but my sister (who I woke up out of concern) was actually concerned I would faint and I was afraid that if I would eat/drink breakfast and get to work, I’d puke all over the bus and workplace. If I decided not to eat/drink, I was afraid I would faint at the workplace, which wouldn’t work either. With other words: I had to call in sick.

On Monday a mental breakdown, on Wednesday a conflict in the workplace and on Friday my whole body decides to give up just when I decided to solve this whole thing and step up my game.
This isn’t my week. It truly isn’t. Sorry that I’ve been late with this blogpost. I’ve been thinking all week on how to write this blogpost and I just couldn’t come up with it. In the meanwhile, more stuff kept piling up. I don’t even feel like I really grasped my emotions in this blogpost. I just can’t begin to describe how I felt between Wednesday and my talk through phone with my jobcoach on Thursday. It came eerily close to how I felt before I had a huge mental breakdown which took me half a year to recover from. I’m sure my jobcoach and my sister combined saved me from something like that, which would definitely have ruined my chances anywhere.
Thank you jobcoach and sister!

These emotions are actually the sole reason I didn’t know how to write this. If I were to write them as they were happening, this blogpost would’ve been way too dark. I was afraid everyone would start to treat me like some terminal patient. Trying to cheer me up with half happy and half sad looks, just feeling very sorry for me…
Or maybe go the complete other way and get very scared I would go and do something drastic or something like that.
Don’t worry, I’m not a person for things like suicide or cutting myself or stuff like that. Read my blogpost about pain? I wouldn’t even have the heart to do something like that, haha! No, I just feel very deeply and to me, losing my job would be the end of the world on itself (hence the breakdown on Monday when I got scared for that), let alone feeling like I caused it with a misunderstanding. That’d be terrible beyond words.
I hope my team leader will be there on Monday. If he is, I’ll ask him if we can have a word. This needs to be solved somehow.

Not a good week - 1

Since there is a lot I have to tell from last week, this is going to be a 2-parter. Putting everything in 1 blogpost, would've simply been too much. It was even more than my blogpost about England. I didn't want to down-size my blogpost either, since I feel this is too important to leave anything out. In fact, I still feel I come short of words to fully explain what is going on. When I started my conversation with my jobcoach on Monday, she asked "Would the world really end if you lost your job?" and I answered "My world would." Keep this in mind while reading this and the next blogposts.

Hey everyone. Sorry that I’ve been kind of absent on this blog. There’s been a lot going on last week and I had no idea how to voice those feelings while still in the middle of it, without sounding like I would be ready for a mental institution or something. Don’t worry, I’m not ready for a mental institution and I’m not suicidal or anything like that, I’m just really emotional.

Now, what brought all this on? Work did. It all started on Monday. Remember that I told you that my jobcoach stopped by because I was in a very bad place emotionally? Well, before that I have been mostly cleaning my workplace. I was fine with that, since I wasn’t very capable of much else. After I wrote that blogpost, my colleagues asked me to do the dishes. This didn’t go very smoothly, as I couldn’t carry some heavy stuff, I dropped something, I got my thumb crushed, I was very slow and dishes kept piling up. It took me 2 hours to finish. Also, my shirt was very wet. Yes, having wet clothes is bad to me. I am, and have always been, very sensitive to wet clothes. They are cold, they are sticky and they make my skin crawl. When I was still very young (think around age 6 and younger) I even used to come up to my mum crying, asking for clean clothes. I don’t cry anymore over wet clothes of course, but they are still hell to me.

Last Wednesday (I work on Monday, Wednesday and Friday) I was hoping for some more enjoyable work. I know not every day at work is supposed to be fun, but after the mental breakdown and cleaning all day, I was hoping for some cheering up.
No such luck. I was asked to clean the glass plates (I was shown how to do that faster. Got a personal record! Yay me!), the wooden presenting shelves and sweep the floor. Okay. Okay. Things need to be done. Now I was up for getting to my actual job! Nope. I was asked to do the dishes again. This is where I drew my line. I said no and that I was cleaning all Monday and all morning and that I was ready for something else for a change.

Suddenly, mood swing. My colleagues didn’t like that I was protesting. They told me that everyone has to do something that isn’t fun now and then. I told them I knew that, but that I didn’t see them doing less fun stuff ALL. DAY. LONG. (by this time my colleagues were spreading the message that I was unwilling to do something less fun and I got very upset looks my way…) I was told I should simply learn to work faster (later this was explained to me, he meant by doing it more often), so I would be done sooner. That I should’ve been able to do it in about 15 minutes. I told him “I don’t have just your stuff to wash you know!” He said “I know, but even between us and the bread department.” I told him that that wasn’t it. That everyone kept piling up the dishes and I couldn’t work through them. Suddenly he got what was going on and he asked: “Do you mean you also got dishes from the other departments?” Yes, that’s what I meant.

It turned out that that wasn’t supposed to happen. I was just supposed to wash the dishes from our department. I didn’t know this. I simply took the fact that I was also supposed to wash the dishes from my colleagues as having to wash the dishes from ALL my colleagues. Also, nobody corrected me on this one on the day itself. My colleague went off, because he was getting behind on his job. I went off to tell my colleagues what was going on, so that they would know I wasn’t trying to be stubborn, but actually had good reasons to act the way I acted and that it was all based on a misunderstanding. I got told they understood, but they were still very harsh in their tone towards me and still ending sentences in “But still, we all have to do something less fun sometimes.” If someone ends a sentence with “But still, …” and their tone is still harsh, I don’t have the feeling things are resolved, even when they tell me they are. Also, I kept seeing colleagues get together in groups to talk to each other, then turn around and look at me annoyed, then get back to work. This isn’t fair. They’re telling me it’s resolved and then act like totally the opposite is going on. How am I to resolve things with EVERY colleague?

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

A great time

I promised I would tell about England, so I will. England was amazing. Not everything went right. In fact, if you just look at the weather and what we did, you might think we were very bored and had a terrible time, except for Wednesday. This isn’t true. Yes, the weather was terrible and on Monday and Tuesday it turned out it was a “Bank Holiday”, which turned out to be a celebration for the queen’s jubilee, that had most of the stores closed. Also, it was raining at least a bit every day.

Still, we had a great time. My sister and I weren’t about to let our fun be ruined by some rain and closed stores. On Monday we had an unexpectedly smooth flight. Visiting the airport and finding out where everything is ahead of time really made a difference, I can recommend it to everyone who has trouble with travelling (by plane)! In fact, I actually redirected some other passengers, who were a bit lost with all the different directions, to the right queue.

Once we arrived, we took a taxi to our hotel. I now understand people who complain about taxi drivers. We had the stereotypical foreign guy who was yelling short sentences to communicate. When we arrived and we were about to pay him, he told us “10 pounds more today! Bank Holidays!” We didn’t like that he didn’t tell us that before driving us, but how are we about to discuss that, when he communicates in yelling out short sentences? Also, we were pretty tired and had a lot to progress, so I decided to just pay the man.
After that we dropped off our bags and had lunch at a diner across the street, since we weren’t allowed to check in yet. After that we checked in and took a nap in the hotel room. After the nap, we had a look around in the city centre, I visited Sainbury’s for the first time, and had dinner. (I’m never having McDonalds in England again. Don’t know what they do to the chicken there, but I didn’t like it)

The next day we had a lovely breakfast and spent the day riding the bus, walking around the outer parts of the city, and visiting Wal Mart. I know, Sainsbury’s and Wal Mart don’t sound too exciting for the most of you, but I always read about those stores and never actually saw one, so I got curious. Sainsbury’s simply made me think of the supermarkets in France (like Champion and Auchan for example), but Wal Mart is big!

On Wednesday we had a very special day. The day our whole trip to England was actually based on. The sole reason we chose Watford over all the other cities… Leavesden Studios! Most of you probably still have no clue what I’m talking about. Leavesden Studios is the place where they filmed the Harry Potter movies! Here at home we’re a big fan of Harry Potter and my sister and I just HAD to go see the movie set! For those of you who didn’t know yet: they made a huge museum out of the movie set, with all the sets, props, art designs, etc.
Before we went there, we went to see the Disney store in another part of the city centre. After that we went to Leavesden Studios.

We had a blast at Leavesden Studios. They simply had so much to see there! The estimated time you’ll need to see everything there is 3 hours. We took 3 and a half hours. I swear, if you even remotely like Harry Potter, I can already advise you to go there. If you’re a fan, you simply MUST go there! I’m not going to tell you everything you can find there, since it’ll ruin the surprise if you’re ever going to visit. Just go and see for yourself. I will say 2 things though. The gift shop is huge and amazing and… I got to open the doors to the Great Hall! Thank you so much guide of the tour, I will never forget it! She probably won’t read this, but still.

If you’re ever going there, I’ll give you this piece of advise: be there an hour early. Take 30 minutes to look around at the beginning (yes, it’s worth it) and to visit the tourist shop. Then take another 30 minutes to get in the queue that’s inside the hall. You won’t regret it.
I’ll spare you more excitement from me. I’m seriously holding back, trying not to spray everyone with huge walls of text about how amazing Leavesden Studios is.

Wednesday evening all the walking in Leavesden Studios caught up with me and my temperature shot straight up. I started hyperventilating and was burning up. This is the sad thing about Chronic Fatigue. I’ll always have to pay for having a great day out. Was it worth it though? Yes it was, I’ll never trade my experience at Leavesden Studios in for anything.
Thursday I was still very tired and so was my sister. We went to a park, but it started to rain  pretty heavy. Since we were actually to tired anyway, we went back to the hotel and just decided to spend the day reading.
I finished Aaron Likens’ book, so I decided to start on The Hunger Games, which my sister brought along. The whole of Thursday my sister and I simply slept some and read The Hunger Games. (I read the first book, my sister the second and started with the third, since she already finished the first book. By now, I have arrived at the third book too)
I still didn’t dislike the day. I was actually very relaxed and didn’t mind having a day of absolutely nothing. Isn’t a holiday about regaining your strength anyway?

On Friday my sister and I had breakfast and then returned straight to bed. At 2 pm the taxi would arrive, so we didn’t have much time to do anything else anyways and we were both very sucked into the story we were reading. I have never been so excited about a story written in first person until I started reading The Hunger Games! I can really recommend the books.

At 2 pm we were packed and the taxi arrived. At the airport we had a hard time figuring out where we needed to be. It’s a very small airport, which would in theory be easier, but the signs weren’t really clear to us. Also, when we wanted to ask something, we couldn’t find an information point anywhere and when we asked some lady from the airport, she simply mumbled that we could maybe ask the check-in desk. (which had a huge row in front of it and we didn’t need information for checking in) After a while of searching and starting to panic, a steward (or at least I thought he was) picked up that we needed help and pointed us in the right direction.
Thank you mister! (although he probably won’t read this, just like the tour guide…)

There were many more minor inconveniences which we disliked about Luton Airport. When we were finally in the airplane, my sister and I were in a pretty bad mood. All we wanted by then was just to get home and tell our parents all about Leavesden Studios.

Sorry for the huge blogpost. I hope you all managed to read up to here. If you did: Applause!

Monday, 11 June 2012

The aftermath

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. England was amazing and took all my attention and after England everything just came crashing down on me.
Did travelling take such a toll? Nah. Actually, I can't wait to go again! The travel back home did bring some anxiety, but that just got me a bit off my game and nervous.

So then why did everything crash down on me? That's what I asked myself at first too. I was restless and depressed and didn't understand why. I couldn't voice this to others either, since I couldn't say more than "I'm restless and depressed for some reason, even though I had an amazing time".

At first I thought it was me missing England, but it didn't feel like the right answer. Last Sunday I went to a concert of a pop choir my mum sings in. After the song "Sweet Goodbyes", which always leaves me crying (I'm terribly sensitive to music), I started to figure out what was wrong.

Remember that I said I felt like the time I transferred from primary school to secondary school? I still feel that way and now I know why. I've had to cope with not knowing if I would be able to finish school and not knowing if I would be able to hold a job since 8th grade (2nd class of secondary school). This has finally caught up with me. I can't stand not knowing. Especially not knowing what to do in case things turn out wrong.

The whole night I've been worrying, hyperventilating and crying over this. This morning I couldn't take it anymore and called for my jobcoach to come over. She did and she had a good talk with me. Of course she can't promise me anything either, but she could explain to me what would happen in case I wouldn't make it. Don't worry, I'll fight for this job, but just in case. I just need to know that I've got a safety net, so I won't fall to the ground if I happen to fall.

She told me the 'what-if-plan'. This got me a lot calmer. I now know that there is a plan. (I don't feel like discussing this plan here yet) Just knowing this calmed me down a lot.

If anyone's wondering: yes I did have an amazing time in England and yes I'll tell you all about it somewhere this week.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

England - 2

A little update... Distracting myself didn't work and I'm having a little breakdown now. Why? No idea. I'm not even thinking that much about everything that's going to happen. This is very similar to when I first switched schools (from primary school to secondary school). This was the first time I ever had a breakdown like this.

I hated primary school. I was bullied very severely there and I couldn't wait to get out of there. In fact, I hated it so much, I was counting down the days until I was away from there. Quite literally too. I had a small paper on which I kept track of the days left. Still, when the last day of primary school ended, I suddenly started crying. Everyone thought I ended up missing the school, even after saying I wanted to get out of there, but I didn't. I couldn't explain why I was crying. I was happy leaving there! Then why was I sad? Remember, I wasn't diagnosed back in those days. This was a very confusing time for me.

I'm having a similar experience now. I really want to go to England and I can't wait. Still, I'm sad. I'm here, crying, and I haven't got a clue what about. I'm not worrying about things. In fact, my mind is quite blank. I was simply surfing the internet as I said I would. Then suddenly I just started crying. It feels like it isn't even my own emotion, like it just shouldn't be there. I'm happy going to England and I'm not worrying, I'm enjoying some internet time! Then why am I crying? I really can't answer that with anything more than 'change'. It's only a big change with big impacts which can get me to this unexplainable crying.

Don't worry. I'm fine. I want to go to England. I want to step in that plane. I want to do this! My crying isn't some feeling of actually being too scared and not wanting to go or anything. Of course I'm very anxious, I already told you this, but that's not it. I was anxious of the Efteling too and that didn't cause as much trouble as this does. I have no logical explanation for this. This is Autism at its highest in my opinion. I can't explain this in any other way than 'there is change and I have trouble with change, even if it's good change'.


Right now I'm trying to stay awake as long as possible, so that I can sleep a lot during the day on Sunday and then maybe make it through the night from Sunday to Monday. Why? Because Monday we'll need to leave the house very early to get ourselves on the plane to England. I'm a night person, so I'm better at pushing my rythm forwards than pulling it backwards. (So, better at staying up late and wake up late, than going to bed early and wake up early)
My sister on the other hand is using the other method: she goes to bed earlier and makes sure she'll have a good night sleep. Healthwise that would be the better option for me too, but I’ve tried this before and I couldn’t pull it off. So better be safe than sorry. I’ll have a nap when we’re at the hotel in England.

At the hotel in England… This Monday… I can’t even begin to realise it. When I let it sink in too much, I just get overwhelmed and start to mildly hyperventilate, even now just writing this it seems to happen, so I have to try and keep distance from over thinking it.
Just thinking about everything that needs to be done is too much… Okay I’m leaving this subject before I have to alarm some people because of hyperventilation. (don’t worry, I’m fine, I just think I won’t be if I keep typing about how much it is)

So… Yes… England… I can hardly be very excited too. It’s not that I’m not looking forward to it. I am very much so! But I always have this. I’m not very excited until the day is there. Sometimes even until I’m at the place itself. I usually have it with anime/manga conventions too. I am looking forward to those things, but I don’t get very excited until we drive up to the parking spot of the convention and I see the other visitors standing in line already. I think it’s some kind of protection I created for myself. You see, I’m very bad with disappointment. So if I just don’t get excited about something right up to the last point, I can’t get disappointed, or at least not as easily. That’s fine though, I do enjoy and get excited over the activity itself and I think that’s the most important thing, so that is fine.

I wish I had more to say about England, but I don’t. Well… I do. But I can’t say more without overwhelming myself with a lot of ‘what if…?’ thoughts and my health is first place here, so sorry, no can do. Let’s just say there are too many unpredictable things and it’s the first time I’ll be flying without my parents, so… yea… anxiety is there. It’s okay though, this is why we’re doing this (besides just wanting to go to England). I want to get used to travelling on my own and I can do that best with someone explaining me now.

So I’m wrapping this up now. Tomorrow… *looks at the time* I mean today, I’ll be packing my bags… Let’s not think about that either. So, let’s surf some more on the internet.

Friday, 1 June 2012


If I have to write about today, I wouldn't know what to write about in the sense that there is too much to write about. Still following me?

Should I write about the many noises today? At work it was crowded, it was noisy, children were screaming, blenders were running, colleagues were shouting at each other... and that's just work. Those things are normal, but it was worse today.

Should I write about the many negative people around me, making me very negative too?

Should I write about the evaluation interview? Well actually yes, for a bit. It went better than expected. They do have high hopes for me, but not unrealistically high. So that's a positive! (During the whole interview 2 children were screaming...)

Should I write about how much we had to do at work? Even lunch time was hard to get!

Should I write about that I couldn't sleep after work, because I had too much to do at home?

Should I write that it's my sister's birthday tomorrow? Hah, sneaked that one in. Congratulate her! :)

Should I write about that I ended up being so tired, that I had to leave in the middle of the weekly autism meeting?

Should I write about the nervousness about going to England on Monday?

In other words: there was a lot going on and I could write a blogpost on each and every part if it. I'm not going to though. I'm too tired.
I'm now in bed, writing this on my smartphone. I'll soon be sound asleep. Good night everyone.