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About JOtterN17

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    Norfolk Broads
  1. Dear Graham and Mandy. I've only joined this forum (the first one I've ever joined) about 2 days ago, so please bear with me. I stumbled across your post and it struck a chord with me. Judging by what you've written, Graham, it's evident that Mandy has had a really tough life. Mandy is only about six years older than me, and so there is much about the kind of punitive environment which she describes growing up in that feels very familiar in many ways, though in others it's fair to say that I've probably been more fortunate. I was born in 1965 and had a working class upbringing in the London borough of Haringey. After being told I was profoundly autistic and would probably end up in an institution, my parents were more or less sent on their way; autism was not, at that time, widely understood and so, understandably I suppose, my parents didn't really know what to do with me. Throughout childhood from when I was about two and a half, I was prodded, poked, tested, and generally regarded as a curiosity by expert personnel but all throughout I was pretty much left to fend for myself in the bearpit environment of mainstream education, because I 'miraculously' began to talk when I was about four years old. Like Mandy, I was a target for bullies throughout, partly because until I was 9 I was placed in classes with children a year or two younger than myself. A big factor is that like Mandy, perhaps, there were, and still are, so many things which other people are able to grasp just 'like that', as if by osmosis, which I either failed to understand or was simply 'blind' to the information coming in and how to process it. What I was never blind to, however, was how impatient people could become with me, or their derision, however well they thought they were concealing it (often they didn't bother). I was a very timid child, always afraid and on the alert for punishment. This was probably because the adults tended to be inconsistent; all sympathy for a grazed knee, but unable to cope with my 'over'sensitivity, so that I was always being told to toughen up. I never knew from one minute to the next what was about to happen. At school, the bullying was mainly verbal and psychological, though I was forced to commit humiliating acts always under threat of violence, or that they would tell certain things about me to the whole school. At home, I was regularly told I wasn't normal, and taught to feel that the bullying was my fault. It was an environment in which my weaknesses and failures were noticed more than my strengths. The bullying has continued throughout my life, in work, and even during a 2013 stay in hospital. The awful thing is that because it is often so difficult to translate feelings into words, and because experiences such as Mandy's, and mine too, are so very different from those of most people it's almost like we're trying to communicate something for which there is no common language anyway. There is also the very real frustration of knowing that one's verbal description of any given thing is generally far below our comprehension, and that most people tend not to make allowances. I know for my part the kind of explosions of temper which causes suffering to both me and my husband is due to frustration, and usually occurs when I've become saturated with too many things having gone wrong over the course of a day, on top of all the failures and traumatic incidences of my life. I hate this because I know it hurts my husband who is the one person who has stayed by my side, through thick and thin, and really tried to walk a mile in my shoes. My casual observation here is that you seem to be doing the same for Mandy. I feel glad for her, as it seems that at last there is a good person in her life, to give her the support, understanding and friendship that she deserves, and who can see her for who she really is. Take care, Mandy and Graham. Hope that this might be of some help to you. Needless to say, Hope to talk with you again. Kindest regards - Jo
  2. Hello and many thanks for your kind welcome, I'm very glad to be here and I hope that maybe my experience of life may be of value to others. This is essentially my first experience of participating in a forum so please bear with me. Trekster, January must be an especially tough month for you ( just as June is for me). I hope that life has been kinder to you since 2002. Support services for adults with autism are pretty thin on the ground around here (the Weybridge area of Surrey); the nearest venue where people can meet is in Godalming. As I don't drive, am unable to use public transport and virtually housebound, getting there would be a problem. My most recent experience with mental health services was actually quite a good one, but sadly the course of therapy I was receiving was terminated (in 2012) due to cuts in funding. In June 2013 I had to have my appendix removed, which required a short stay in hospital - the first time I had ever stayed away from home on my own among strangers. I overheard the nurses saying some awful things about me in the corridor. The past three and a half years since this incident have been a gradual descent to where I find myself today. To cut a long and very boring story short, I am now about to deliver a letter to our GP, requesting another referral to my local mental health team, as the problems which I have always had, leading up to the most recent treatment program, are worse than ever. You asked what kind of work I may like to do. At this point I don't feel I could do anything at present. I find it immensely difficult to interact with, and relate to people. I also have Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Because of all the issues I've mentioned, I have no self confidence at all. Apart from drawing I have no special abilities, no skills, and only a basic education. Hope I haven't bored you too much, and thanks again for your time and warm welcome! Jo
  3. First and foremost, a warm hello to everyone. I'm 51 years old, female, and I have been plucking up the courage for some time to perhaps find somewhere like this where hopefully I might learn from others and also others might benefit from my experience. It is to my wonderful Better Half - and best friend - to whom I owe the fact that I am now able to sit here and paralyse all who read this with this surpassingly boring overview of my life. I was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome 10 years ago (I also have impairments in executive functioning), after a lifetime of experiencing difficulty trying to fit in but failing catastrophically, often without knowing why. When I was about 3 years of age my parents received for me a verbal diagnosis of classic autism, as I had speech delay, was extremely anxious, and was so hyperactive that I could barely sleep for more than 2 hours a day, as well as many other traits and idiosyncrasies, some of which I still have. At age 4 I suddenly seemed to 'get better' and the powers that be saw fit to place me in mainstream education, albeit being placed with children younger than myself until I was 9 which guaranteed that the bullying which had begun from when I was 5 would continue right through my school life. Although my cognitive functioning was tested frequently, and my social functioning constantly monitored, no one intervened and there was no support for my parents, who didn't know what to do with me. On the whole it was a very punitive environment in which my failures were noticed more than my talents. I was constantly being told to 'toughen up', as I was very timid and sensitive. Fast forwarding past an undistinguished school life, self harming which started when I was 15, a series of unsuitable unskilled jobs in which I was bullied, history of various mental health problems, two suicide attempts, and presently about to make another effort to squeeze myself back in through the revolving door to my local mental health services, it would appear, judging by what I've been reading on this forum, my experience of life on the spectrum is not uncommon. Oh, there I go, blethering on and on again! Sorry for rambling on, which I have a tendency to do. There is much more that I could say, and I hope that any experience I can share might be of help to you. Kindest regards, Jo.
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