A Long Post About Lots And A Little…

There have been a few interesting things happening in my life, but at the same time … still not a lot of things happening/getting done … (Like sorting out my house, and all my sewing stuff I never got unpacked and organised before I got too stressed to even think about it)
At Least one good thing has happened at Last … kind of a Large, or Little – depending how one Looks at it, but either way – Lovely, change … which I found out about the day before it happened – I finally got to Leave, for the Last time, the place I had been working at for 15 years, where I had fallen apart, and been sent back to again, to work for the same Lunatics who still thought I was Lazy …
I actually started writing about it as a letter J post, for ABC Wednesday, ready for posting Just a couple days after I started at the new place … but I got a Little busy … doing …er … not really getting a Lot done … I think I was a Lot preoccupied with just coping with the sudden change, all at the same time as I was preparing and submitting an appeal to try and get my compensation claim approved (rather than denied on an annoying and stupid technicality that should not even apply)
Anyway … This is what I wrote, about 3 weeks ago now:

Just a bit busy/preoccupied …
… had to sort out a few things that needed to be done, and … I have been getting my head (and the rest of me, actually 🙂 around a bit of a Jump in my reality …
Finally, (and rather suddenly I might add), it seems seems the “powers that be” have maybe read some of the medical/psych reports/etc that say that after what happened with/to me at work, and the way it was all (mis) handled … maybe it is not a good thing for my mental health to have been sent back there again, to work with the same supervisors I had so many problems with (ya reckon? *sarcasm*) so … I found out at a meeting with my case manager and somebody else from the Government directorate I work for, on Thursday afternoon, that while my name will still be against that position number, so that is technically still “my” job until I am able to gain another position within the organisation (which will not be easy, and may take some time) – they have decided that yes, I need to be moved out of the workplace I fell apart at, and have decided to send me elsewhere to do a temporary new Job – and … bit of a shock because it was so sudden – the next day – a Friday – was my last day working at that particular school!
So, after almost 15 years at this school (nearly 20 years of being a High School Science Assistant (lab technician/whatever – about 5 years at another school then 14 years at this one, until I “fell apart” last year) … A job I used to love, where things started off fine … and gradually went from fantastic, to good, to OK, to maybe not so ok, to not so good, to bad, to worse, to totally impossible … and then falling apart when they tried to manage what I now know was a disability, and a mental health problem, as underperformance, having time off on sick leave, and being sent back there to do “alternate duties” (which was a rather awkward situation, to say the least) … now I am finally out of that place!
(It was a bit of a surprise for the school I was working at too – they didn’t find out that it was my last day until that morning!)

I will be working at a primary school until the end of this term … and where I will be working next term will be decided at the end of this one (at the end of next week) … so … I still don’t know where I will eventually end up … but at least I am now able to get somewhere – hopefully do some more finding myself, and be able to work on recovering from the stress disorder … I was told that I would be working with a nice, supportive supervisor (been a long, long, while since I have had one of those!) , and doing a few different things in the way of duties, in order to regain some self confidence (that all kind of escaped somewhere over the last several years) and also gain some experience in other things and start to work out what other things I actually can do … which is exactly what my psychologist just said I needed!

I am writing most of this on the weekend … before I start my (temporary) new Job … I may add something about how my first couple of days there go when I post this … but at the moment I feel Just a bit … strange … not really sure actually (seems to be a normal thing for me … by the time I work out how I actually feel about something, the something has probably changed and I feel different … lol)
There were also some nice, supportive, people there … probably the only reason I was able to cope with being there, and 25 years of working there, and my kids both having been to that school while I was working there, it was familiar and I was used to the place and the people … so I guess I have some “mixed emotions” … and I am now stepping out into a new unknown … so confusion is something “to be expected” … so at least I am not worried about the fact that I feel so weird … lol
I think I am happy … I must be – someone I was talking to about it today said I sounded happy … lol … Also slightly Aprehensive … am I going to make an at least ok first impression, will I actually like the place/any of the work?, will I cope ok? (I think I most likely will be fine, but there is always that element of doubt … sigh) … all the normal things a person would worry about when they go to work at a new place, I guess … lol … but it all happened so suddenly … I think it is taking a while for me to get my head around it all – I am probably still processing the whole thing … and that would probably be true for anyone in the same situation, Autistic or not!
(Thank goodness I don’t have the huge problems with even small changes that some Aspies have … although it is possible I do have some problems … I don’t really know … how do I even know if the way I feel/react to things is normal? … How do I even tell if the way I feel/do things is “normal” … it is normal to me – lol)

Oh … one other weird thing … in a recent post, I mentioned hiding a Geocache up a tree, because I just happened to have a ready to go one with me … one I had tried to hide elsewhere (because I had noticed the only other one in that particular suburb had been missing for months) but it wasn’t approved due to it being right next to a pre school and a primary school (where it was probably wouldn’t have been a problem, but rules are rules) … guess which primary school … Yes I am about to go and work at the same one I tried to hide a Geocache too close to – lol – I guess I will have a good opportunity to find a better (and slightly more distant from the school yard) place to hide another one …

So … back to now … 3 weeks since I started at the new school, and now on a break for the school holidays. The first 2 weeks were Lovely … but it felt rather weird … for the first time in a Long time – I actually … Liked … going to work – lol
It is now school holidays, so I am on “stand down” for the 2 weeks they go for, and I was told on the last day of term that I would be back at that same primary school for the first 3 or 4 weeks of next term, because they think it would be good for me to spend a Little bit Longer settling in and recovering from the trauma I have been put through … yikes … scary – someone actually being nice to me and caring and trying to help … It all feels so odd … I keep worrying that I am going to wake up and find I was dreaming …
Unfortunately I am still not sure they really understand what is best for me, as in what sort of work I probably will like/be good at, and what type of work I maybe should or shouldn’t do … but hopefully that will be sorted out …
(Hopefully when the right peopLe talk to each other)
Last term I was mainly working with cooking classes, and doing some work in the “kitchen garden” … this term I will probably be doing more of that, and also maybe some work in the Library … to see if I like, and am any good at, something Like that …
Then I will probably be sent to another school to try something different again … maybe working with students in a Learning support unit … All this is so I can see what sort of position I am suited to, gain some experience and skills, and work referees, for when I apply for a transfer to a new position … either in a school, or somewhere else in the public service … only problem is … after 19 years working at the same thing (I was Science Assistant at another school, before I transferred to the one I spent 15 years at) and 5 years before that as an “at home mum” and 6 years before that in the Army doing something that no longer even exists as a job in the Army, let alone outside, a few other things before that, which were so long ago they don’t count for a lot (ditto with my Dipploma of Applied Science in Natural Resources – almost totally useless now, except as an interest/background knowledge … That was sort of vaguely useful in my role as science assistant, but not for much else now) … in other words – I have Little in the way of other skills I need for a different job, and a sad Lack of any current qualifications … so gaining a transfer will possibly not be easy, and may take some time …

So … with everything going on in my Life with both the work situation and stuff and with the ongoing process of figuring myself out as far as what it now means to me to not only be Autistic/an Aspie, but at the moment also still a #StresedAspie, and my continuing Lack of getting myself organised at home/etc, and a few other things going on with family … I am still a Little bit stressed, but I am hopeful that there is a Lot more Likelyhood that things are now going to get a Lot better 🙂

Oh … And the Geocache I mentioned I wanted to find a better spot to hide near the school I was moved to … Yes, did that too 🙂
… Hid it straight after my first day actually working there (the Tuesday, because I had a meeting there on Monday morning and then was sent home for the day, so before I went home I wandered over and Looked for a Likely spot to hide one, and organised the container, with a Log for finders to sign, that evening, and took it to work with with me the next day 🙂
It is over the other side of the road, at an underpass … hidden, published, and already been found by a few people …
Now waiting for a couple more of my Geocache hides to hopefully be published (they have to be approved by a reviewer) … One Low down in a very small tree and the other high up a larger tree, on 2 different islands in my Local pond … on Wednesday I went for a Lovely paddle in my kayak, and found places to hide them, then Thursday I crocheted some camouflage for them (yes, I am weird and do some strange creative things – lol) then on Friday, even though it was rather windy, I went for what I thought was actually another Lovely paddle to hide them 🙂

Here, in no particular order, are a few of the photos I took on the pond while looking for hiding spots, and hiding the 2 Geocaches …

Instruction Manual? What Instruction Manual?

If there was an Instruction manual for me, It would be an Interesting read 🙂

… Unfortunately, when I was delivered, there wasn’t one in the package.

So … I guess I just have to figure it all out as I go … I have read/watched a lot of online tutorials on how related models of human operate … In other words – reading blogs and watching YouTube videos posted by other Aspies/Autistic people 🙂

Between that, and things I have learnt from talking with psychologists/etc, I am discovering, or learning reasons behind, all sorts of Interesting things about myself … In some ways I have become my own science experiment … I am finding a lot of this self discovery to be rather Intriguing 🙂

And … the other day … er … a few weeks ago actually … I sort of came up with something that is not quite Instructions, but is the beginnings of what is maybe a basic set of standard operating procedures … which would be nice if people actually followed them …

Everyone deserves respect.
Please treat me like a normal person.
I am an adult, who has been to university (I have a Diploma of Applied Science), travelled, served in the Army, married, had (and brought up) children, gone back to work, divorced, rebuilt my life, fallen apart, and put myself together again.
I am artistic and creative,
I am intelligent
(My IQ is probably higher than most people’s)
I am fit and active,
I care about people,
I am willing and able to work hard,
I am loyal and honest,
… and I also happen to be Autistic.

So … while I am fairly good at pretending I am completely “normal” there may be times when I come across as slightly odd, and I do sometimes have problems with communication – sometimes I might say the wrong thing, or not think to say something I should, or I may get excited about something and interrupt. Or I might not understand, or even totally misunderstand, something you say to me, or something I say may not make sense, or not mean what you think I said … I know that sometimes happens, and I would prefer you to talk with me about it – point out to me if I have made a mistake – so that I can do something about it, or clarify what I meant if you don’t like or are not sure about something I said or did – so we can understand each other better … rather than have you be upset, treat me badly or complain about me to someone else …

(It actually wasn’t that difficult to work out those, now that I have worked out at least some of what went so wrong at work last year – I just had to think of the things that were done to me/not done for me …)

I also tend to use way too many words to say things … lol

and … I am sure I did this last time we were up to the letter I for ABC Wednesday … here are a couple of other Interesting? things about me …

Indecisive

I have always been Indecisive, but now I am not so sure …

Actually – I am sure of that one … another Aspie trait, I believe … my problem is – I always want more Information before I can decide … for example “Tea or coffee?” … Well … It depends If It Is Icky Instant coffee or you have real coffee that you make with a coffee machine or plunger … and if the only tea you have is peppermint or some other equally disgusting flavour, or if you have normal tea, or a variety I will actually willingly Ingest.
… sometimes I gather a lot of information but I am still too confused to decide, and sometimes I take so long to decide on something that the decision is made for me …
(Usually quite Irritating and/or Inconvenient)

Interestingly enough … I had decided on something for this post a week or more before we were up to the letter I for ABC Wednesday … I had an Idea in the shower … and by the time I got out of the shower It had become 2 Ideas … But I don’t have to decide, because there is room for both … In fact there is room for more than that – I added something else to the start of this post as well – another thing I “wrote” most of in my head while I was in the shower one night 🙂

Yes – I am an Interesting Individual!

… And I am usually quite happy to tell people why … because I am an Individual … and because I also happen to be Autistic …
But I sometimes get a quite irritating response to telling people that … why do so many people Insist on saying something like this?:

“Oh, but we are all on the spectrum somewhere”

Really?

I have a neurological difference that most people would not want themselves or their children to have, and that is usually referred to as a “condition” or a “disorder” … and you want to Identify with that? … how Intrigueing … and totally Illogical …

Maybe next time someone says that, I should reply with:

“Yes, I guess we are – if the spectrum you are talking about is the one where at one end is Informed/educated and at the other end is uninformed/Ignorant … we are on opposite ends of that one, but if you have a few spare minutes I am happy to help you Inch a little bit further up towards my end …”

I am quite happy to Inform people on topics I am familiar with … being helpful is Intrinsic to my nature 🙂

So … you are confused why my crazy brain Insisted on posting about so many I things, rather than saving some for next time around the alphabet?

So am I … but I gave up and went with it … LOL

… don’t panic – I am sure I can think of plenty more … not sure if everyone will like them all … I guess it depends what I come up with for words like “Icky” and “illness” … mind you, I could come up with a few Icky things to write about for a few otherwise Innocuous words as well 🙂

The hard part will be working out what to write for J next week … or finding time to write it … there are/will be things happening, that I will want to write about … but until they do happen I won’t know how they go, to know WHAT to write … Cryptic? … Yes … you will Just have to wait and see …

In the meantime, here is a photo of myself being an Idiot yesterday 🙂

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… a silly selfie I took with my iPad – for some (not so) secret Geocaching business 🙂

And … an Interesting thing that “fell out of my pencil” this evening …

image

Maybe it is just because I think I feel that way, but to me the face in the drawing looks a little bit uncertain and Insecure … I guess the drawing could mean anything anyone wants it to – I don’t even know what it means and I drew the darn thing!

How Are You?

“How are you?”
Funny kind of question that … often people will just say “ok” or “fine thanks, and you?” and sometimes, some people will tell the person asking that question EXACTLY how they are, right down to every last detail. I have read in a few places that a lot of Aspies, when asked that question, tend to say “I don’t know” … because often they actually don’t … and I can relate to that!
(The stereotype of Aspergers is that we don’t feel emotions, but that is totally wrong … we do have emotions, and some are even overly empathic … the problem is we often don’t express them the same way, or understand them in ourselves and/or others, as well as other people … I may or may not write something more about it one day … there is already a lot been written about it online – look up “Alexithymia” if you want to know more 🙂

One thing I have learnt, is that “I don’t know” isn’t the answer people want … they usually just expect “fine thanks” or if they are likely to be at all interested in the real answer – maybe something like “a bit tired after my long bushwalk” or “ok except for this flu bug I seem to have caught” … rather than my whole life history or somesuch …
So … I often just answer “ok thanks” or lately, when I have not been totally ok and those asking me know that – I might say “getting there” or “surviving” or even something like “not that great” or “a bit stressed actually” … but when I walk in to a GP or Psychologists clinic and the receptionist asks how I am … I know they dont want to hear my entire medical history, but I can’t just say the usual polite “ok thanks” … because it is a bit bleeding obvious that the fact that I am coming to see a GP or a psychologist more than likely means I am NOT actually “ok” … so I usually say something weird about that, something like “well – I am here seeing a Psychologist/doctor, so … not too good I guess?” and we both end up laughing about what a silly question it is …
I also remember that there was one time, probably when I was a teenager, that someone asked “how are you” and my answer started with something along the lines of “well, my mum met my dad, and they loved each other so they got married and they …” and I don’t think I was allowed to continue any further with THAT particular answer 🙂

For some reason (probably because I was typing one of the journal entries I have been doing to help get my head around everything), I was thinking about how I am at the moment, and wondering if I was maybe a bit stressed, or if I was doing ok … and this kind of happened in my head:

“How are you?” (A very short story)

“How are you today?” He said, as she walked in the door and nervously placed the referral letter, and the Mental Health Plan her GP had given her, down on the counter of the psychology clinic. “Er” she said, as she often does when she needs time to think of an answer, and she absent mindedly looked around the room while trying to work out what the answer should be. She was already aware of the girl she could now see – sitting in the corner, sobbing quietly on her mothers shoulder, and at the same time she could see the TV on the wall, playing yet another news article about that family who had just lost their son in a shooting incident at a shopping centre. She turned her head back toward the counter and her eyes paused a moment as she noticed that the man walking down the corridor only had one arm. Finally her brain clicked into gear enough for her to find words to answer the receptionists question “I am ok, thanks”, she replied.

… So … just in case some of the nice caring people who have followed the link from ABC Wednesday and read a few of my blog posts are wondering:

How am I?

… actually … at the moment, as I am posting this … The best answer I can come up with is … I don’t know!
and yes – that IS my answer, for the same typical Aspie reasons I mentioned at the start of the post – lol

I am ok … not too bad, but not too good either … but a bit better than last week … which doesn’t really say anything meaningful – lol
Confusion seems to be my normal state of mind at the moment … I think all the “red tape” and the “hurry up and wait” is getting to me … sigh …
I also think I still have a lot of figuring out to do, and still need more help with working out this whole emotions thing … maybe it is easier to just keep being a Vulcan 🙂

Live long, and prosper …

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