Filed under: autism, disability, Parenting, success | Tags: asperger's, autism, childhood, children, growing up, happiness, life lessons, parenting, success
There is a tradition of people in their maturity addressing, in writing, their childhood selves; turning sixty seems a good time.
I think the first thing I would say to my younger self is, “There is nothing wrong with you. You may find the world confusing and feel out of place, you may be aware you are different and don’t fit in; your brain is wired differently from other people, not wrongly, just differently. You will eventually learn you have Asperger’s syndrome, high functioning autism, it’s no big deal. However it’s something you share with some of the great people of history, they are great because they walked their own way. I wasted time trying to be normal and fit in, you are normal for you, you will never fit in with the norm, but those who matter will include you. You may feel now that you will never have friends you can trust, you will, but they will be few, their lack of numbers offset by the quality of their friendship.
You may feel alone now, it will not be forever so. You find girls confusing and think you will never understand them, I am sorry but you never will, that’s nothing to do with the Asperger’s its the curse, or blessing, of all men; don’t worry, it is just what’s so. The best you can hope for is that you will find a girl who understands you and accepts you as you are; you will, I did. When you find her, love her and tell her often that you love her, women like that sort of thing. Love is another thing you will never understand, but there will come a time when you know you are loved, and you love so much it brings tears of joy to your eyes. You will learn that tears are not always bad, but often beautiful. You will never understand romance, I’m still trying, I have worked out that it’s something to do with flowers. On the subject of love I should mention sex; apparently it is not just a bodily function, but women have it as a way of expressing love, take your cue from her. Oh, and you can learn a lot about the mechanics of sex from books, you probably won’t get much practice before marriage and when it comes to sex, practice may cause problems.
Sex tends, eventually, to lead to children. There are books on the practical aspects of parenthood, but nothing can prepare you for the emotional chaos children bring. The best advice I can give is love them and do your very best, whatever you do they will turn out as they will, and all you can do is love them and be their for them. Parenthood is an emotional maelstrom, yours and theirs, whatever happens hold on to them, but let them go their own way and make their own mistakes. Not all your tears will be the good sort. Grandchildren make it all worthwhile.
You are intelligent and have lots of potential, however other people’s expectations of you are just that, other people’s expectations. Walk your own way. I have used my intelligence to get into management, in all honesty it did not make me happy and caused a lot of stress. There is nothing wrong with ambition and realising your potential, but it is more important to be happy and to go to bed looking forward to waking up in the morning. One thing you should know is that there is help available for you with employment and studies. I dropped out of university, had my Asperger’s been known perhaps I might not. Would my life have been better with a degree I neither know nor care; I can only live this life in this moment, speculation on what may have been is futile. Remember follow your happiness, what does not make you truly happy is unlikely to be right for you. Walk your own way, follow your happiness and work at your pace.
Change is inevitable, sorry. As you go through life you change schools, change jobs, meet new people and worse lose them. Pets and people die and when you love them it hurts so badly you want to go to bed and never wake up again. Life goes on and the pain somehow changes into a sort of bitter sweet wistfulness that adds a richness to living. The only way is through, you will come through, I have many times.
Keep an open mind. It is too easy to see things digitally. In fact nothing is entirely good or bad, black or white, there may always be factors of which you are unaware. By all means hold firm to your values, but don’t judge others by your standards, what matters is that they meet their own. By all means avoid those who make you uncomfortable, but first examine your reasons; prejudice is a very poor basis for decision making. Try and be tolerant, other people may not be perfect, but that doesn’t mean they are not worthwhile. Be open to experience and be prepared to put up with some discomfort. Push your boundaries, get out of your comfort zone. Pursue knowledge insatiably and don’t discount anything just file away the stupid stuff, further information may make it sensible. Finally, for now, read and read and read widely, about anything and everything you live in an amazing universe immerse yourself in it and enjoy it. Walk your own path, in your own way, with an open mind, be open to experience, but above all follow your happiness.
Filed under: disability, Justice, Politics, Scotland, Yes Scotland | Tags: Jeremy Corbyn, Labour, Scottish Labour, SNP, Trident
I am very disappointed by the number of SNP supporters who seem desperate to join the Tory media in attacking Jeremy Corbyn. We have many points of agreement with Corbyn and where we agree we should work together. Together we can fight the Tories, when we attack Corbyn we are serving the interests of the Tory party.
Corbyn is a unionist true, but just as he hopes to persuade his party to unilateral disarmament, we should seek to make him understand the justice of self determination. I don’t think it will be that difficult, I believe in his passion for justice. Of course if independence is just going to make Scotland another tool of international capital it will be a complete waste of effort. However I believe he would support a Scotland committed to social democratic principles as a good thing.
It was not Corbyn’s decision to not discuss Trident at conference and all the papers discussed were drafted before he became leader. The next Labour conference in 2016 well be a better indicator of the direction of travel of the Labour Movement. Until that conference we might best employ a position of cautious, but not uncritical, support for any Labour action with which we agree while maintaining a commitment to independence.
Jeremy Corbyn has benefited from his refusal to stoop to gutter politics and personal attacks. The attacks on him have made him stronger. I suspect that the surest way to revivify Scottish Labour is to drive them to rally around a socialist leader. Far better to give them nothing to push against by following Corbyn’s example and confining our attacks to policy and making the Tories (or the Westminster government) the primary focus of those attacks. Far better to win support for Scottish freedom than provoke resistance to it.
Corbyn’s victory, like the rise of the YES movement, indicates the need and desire for a new type of politics based on positivity and hope. If we aren’t seen to be fair and reasonable, rising above the divisive hate politics of the past, we will suffer by comparison with the new politics Corbyn embodies and we will lose ground to Labour (assuming they follow Corbyn’s lead). There will be plenty of people attacking Corbyn, many from his own party, if we avoid personal attacks the Labour Party will be left to fight itself and the Tories. We must take note of Corbyn’s example and ensure we occupy the moral high ground.
Yesterday I said to a friend that that the first depression is never as bad as the second, because the second shows you that no matter how often you come through it, it can come back. I joked that I sometimes envy the bi-polar because at least they get highs in between the lows, but perhaps they would argue that the higher you soar the greater the crash. The bottom line is that staring an oncoming depression in the face is almost as bad as being hit by it.
I woke yesterday with that depression that always lurks on the periphery of my consciousness reminding me it hadn’t deserted me. It is rarely a big thing that brings on my depression, but rather, an accumulation of little things accompanied by a voice telling me that all this is pointless. So there were the aches as I pulled myself out of bed and the increasingly noticeable veins in my legs reminding me that in any realistic chronology, I am securely into the second half of my life. And the voice asking what I have to show for my years. Outside my window the midsummer sky was grey and the garden wet with rain, and I found myself wondering if I will make any real progress with getting my garden into shape before the winter comes. Experts tell us not to cut mow our lawns when the grass is wet, but the day before I could wait no longer and mowed the damp grass, now it didn’t look as if I would ever get to mow dry grass; the weedkiller washes off the weeds before they get a chance to absorb it and so I hand weed, knowing the roots I leave behind will furnish more of the same within weeks, if not days, and again the little voice reminds me how pointless it all is.
I look at my writing projects with depression reading over my shoulder and whispering that I am not a writer, that no one will ever read what I write and if they do they won’t like it. And so the flow is gone and typing is a struggle, a slow struggle as my fingers type a word order my brain knows is wrong, very wrong. I keep backspacing and retyping, it’s so slow and tedious and the voices tell me I am wasting my time. Voices? Yes, now there’s more than one and they are discussing me without having the decency to go out of earshot of my mind’s ear. All the time I stare at my keyboard another voice is urging me to catch up on tidying that I know will never be complete until the day I just give up trying to sort things and ruthlessly dump roomfuls of accumulated history and knowledge. I ask myself why am I carrying on?
I carry on because the alternative is too horrible to contemplate, I’ve been there. The call of the pit may have a horrible fascination, but just as previous depressions have told me I am not immune from further depression they also remind me of why I will not return willingly into hell. Familiarity warns me when depression is bracing itself to swallow me, I know what to look for and I know when to fight. Yesterday I had a Skype call prearranged with a friend, isolation is depression’s ally so connection is essential, my daughter visited for a little while as well. No amount of social media can replace another’s face to fill the emptiness. All day long I kept busy, studying, reading, writing, housework, getting into the air between showers. Today is not great, but it’s better than yesterday. One thing I have learnt is to be grateful for even small things, everyday I record my gratitude in my journal, some days that awareness, that there is always something for which to be grateful, is the only thing that stops me going under, a life belt against a ‘sea of troubles’. Every day, one day at a time.
I do not know what tomorrow may bring. I know that there will be challenges, I am aware I need to find some solidity beneath me, I know I will not sink willingly however tired I get of struggling. Depression may want to embrace me, but I’m not fucking giving in! I had hoped this blog would be more upbeat and positive, affirming that depression can be overcome; it can, I’ve done it, again and again and I will not give in now. I suppose my message is depression can be beaten, but be ready to fight, don’t be afraid to cry for help and don’t leave it too late. Today is the day to fight, I shall not sit and weep at the grey sky, I shall go out in the rain, so there! Fuck you depression, fuck you sideways, just fuck right off, go directly to fuck, do not pass fucking ‘Go’ do not collect two hundred fucking pounds, I am not fucking playing! I can do this!
Filed under: autism, disability, Poetry, Writing | Tags: headache, NaPoWriMo, pain, poetry
Today I’m not recording, not up to it. This is the explanation.
Awoke this morning thumping in my head,
Hammering, hammering held me in bed.
“Do not try to get up!” The voices said.
At least the pain tells me I am not dead.
Through the day body sore and my eyes red,
Drumming in my head and my legs like lead,
I wanted to work, I suffered instead.
I faced the day with a head full of dread,
Discomfort and discord before me spread.
Painkillers taken, but still hurts my head.
The day shall soon be done, and back in bed
Shall I be with nothing done, nothing read,
Nothing written, I can’t follow my thread.
Tomorrow recovered, I’ll push ahead,
But for now I’ll take my head back to bed!
Filed under: disability, Justice, Politics, Scotland | Tags: NHS, public sector, SNP, TTIP
Concerned about the impending Transatlantic Trade agreement, I asked my local SNP candidate what his party’s attitude is. His anger confirms me further in my decision to vote SNP.
“ Dear Rory
Thanks for getting in touch about the SNP and Scottish Government
position on TTIP, and particularly the proposed Investor State Dispute
The SNP Scottish Government is not convinced that Investor State
Dispute Settlement is needed. Disputes between investors and the state
should be settled in domestic courts.
I agree with the SNP’s view that TTIP must not include anything which
enables companies to sue because they disagree with democratic public
policy. Governments must be free to act and regulate in the public
The First Minister and SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon has stated that she
strongly opposes the inclusion of public services in TTIP, that she
has big concerns about the rights of corporations to sue governments
(ISDS), and that she opposes any agreement that has terms like that
included in it. At First Minister’s Questions on 4th December, Nicola
Sturgeon said: “I will fight tooth and nail against any moves to
privatise the NHS in Scotland by the back door, and if the TTIP
agreement ever put that threat, it would be opposed strongly by this
The SNP are concerned by the lack of transparency of the negotiations
process on TTIP. The Scottish Government has made several
representations to the UK Government and the European Commission on
TTIP to make concerns about the national health service and public
services very clear. While both have responded saying that TTIP does
not pose any threat to the NHS, the public and the Scottish Government
must see the final legal text of any agreement to be fully assured
that this is true.
I hope this helps and if you’d like any further information, please
don’t hesitate to get in touch.”
Get in touch? I’ll get out and canvas!