It’s possible….

A year ago I noticed an artical about a Scottish island called Ulva. The population had fallen to just 16 people. They had recently purchased the island with the intention of renovating old homes and attracting business to the island while also increasing the population. I really liked the sound of it. The idea that I could live so remotely would be great. I imagined the beautiful views and wildlife the storms in winter i could see myself there already forgetting of course I haven’t got a business to take to the island or any building skills. And I probably wouldn’t be the best team player either. It did sound very interesting though. In no time at all I had become obsessed by the idea. I emailed and inquired if there was any information available hat could be emailed to me.

No instant response or forthcoming e-mail, my mind moved back to building a houseboat! (I know what your thinking) it would be more of a stataboat really, the plan is to use a 40 x 12 static caravan,which can be towed to site and fitted with solar panels to recharge deep cycle batteries. small petrol engine to power propeller and additional charge to the battery system then have barrels installed. Eased into the water and off we go.

Put that simply I should already be on the water. Anyway back on topic and months have passed by when an email landed about Ulva. A brief word thanking me for my interest and a few attachments, the first detailing existing usable buildings to be refurbished and potentially rented, ruined buildings for proposed future use with a rental value attached to each. It highlighted some property for business use. All itemized with estimated returbishment cost and rental value. Included were ideas for the use of the business property such as a hotel, self catering cottages. My wife has worked in hotel management for over 20 years so I figured that would be an advantageous asset which could be of use to the project. I had worked in planning and project management for over 25 years mainly in the utilities industry and (trying not to sound big headed) that was experience they would definitely need.

Attachment 2 was a site survey report on the exsisting wildlife species and numbers any possible impact more animals and their waste might create. Some of the fauna on the island was quite rare and needed protection. Other environmental issues were mentioned in detail.

The last attachment was a projection of how the islanders hoped to progress with the plans they had in mind and how best to prioritise and fund them, it was a large attachment and (not trying to sound like I know everything) it had one or two flaws in it. Overall though a pretty solid plan.

After reading through all of each attachment I believed we as a family had a lot of the attributes that might be needed. I emailed again expressing my interest in the project and asked if they would keep me informed of the progress they were making . I then moved my attention to completing some outstanding tasks in the house. I am forever starting one task then moving onto something else before finishing the first one, the house is literally littered with my unfinished work, I’m just so easily distracted I can’t help myself. I’ll quickly mention that I like tinkering with solar power and saving energy. I am not a green warrior I just like tinkering. If your a green warrior that’s ok I am pleased you care about the world we live in and have the time to make a contribution towards saving the planet. Its not for me but I thank you for your efforts.

A long while later I get another email. Again thanking me for my interest in the project. And asked if I could email them my thoughts if I had any, on why the project interested me, what did I think was the most important benefit to the project and why etc etc. I summarised my thoughts and pressed send. I was pleased with myself it felt good that I was being taken seriously. I know they hadn’t met me warts and all so to speak but I felt good about it.

On Monday I got an email with again thanking me for my interest and asking if i was well (for comic effect I wasn’t aware I’d been unwell boom boom). They mentioned the attachments with the email and said a full time permanent position was available for a development management if I wanted to apply! I am over the moon with delight. I could have the opportunity to be involved in something really really special. I have had images running through my mind about it since.

I will complete the paperwork and apply, I can not remember feeling so alive for a long time, I am aware of course there may be some issues to try and overcome, I will have to explain some things to people about my aspergers and my anxiety then I will know where I am at. I am optimistic though, and a bit worried and a little excited, a tad nervous but definitely happy.

UK storms….

I live in Weardale, County Durham in the UK (which is lovely). I’ve been watching the news the last couple of days awaiting news of hurricane Callum. would I have time to board the windows and batten down the hatches or should we evacuate now and just hope the house stayed intact and we could outrun Callum neither seemed like a good option. We decided to stay and take our chances against Mother nature.

It landed in the early hours of yesterday and the damage was all over the patio. My potted lavender laying there for the world to see. That was it, no other damage at all.

Wales has been the hardest hit and 2 people have died, rivers have burst their banks and many businesses and homes are flooded.

I know people all around would say “thank God you’ve been so lucky” and I’m thankful my damage was minimal. I know in some countries the damage to properties is catastrophic and the loss of life unimaginable, people left with no homes, no family and not much hope. We have Seen the pictures on TV, all to often, absolute destruction. Emergency teams treating the injured, covering the dead, comforting those who survived, searching for life wherever they think it has a chance to still be living. It’s heartbreaking in every sense and I’m always amazed how people recover and rebuild their lives. It’s inspirational to watch the heroes on TV “say anyone would have done the same”

I hope I have painted a picture which shows the real horrors of a hurricane or any disaster for that matter, to try and explain why I’m so angry with UK TV reports, scare mongering and over hyping the impact of Callum on the UK, They have disrespected and belittled the major tragedies around the world by making this heavy gust of wind to be on the same scale. It infuriates me, whoever it is in the TV stations, that thinks the coverage of Callum can be compared in any way to hurricane destruction in the USA or wherever disaster hits, they must be pretty stupid or just moronic.

It’s worrying that we are fed this crap, it’s like its ok to trivialize it. It isn’t.

When people are scared or hurting we have a responsibility to alleviate their fears and show compassion love and supportive.

TV has portrayed this as impending doom and I feel it has an obligation to honesty and not comparing severity for impact.

The dynamics of despair

edvard-munch-Despair

War criminals rant…

Tony Blair has just invaded my sitting room via TV. He might of had someone interesting to say, I don’t know because I’m not keen on (imo) war criminals preaching to me about anything. I know for sure that he would not be apologising for misleading us into an illegal invasion which to this day still hasn’t found the WMD he claimed Iraq had.

I can’t look at him. He is everything we should teach our children not to be.

Tony, history will remember you and tell your story. God will judge you and the devil will keep you

On Durham road

Remember when I started to fall

Into the darkness, just like before

Me emotionless, vacant sad and cold

you strong and gentle, beauty and more

 

I’d wear my Leon Trotsky hat

Not for fashion, you knew the sign

A cloak behind from which I hid

A steel curtain made of twine

 

The mind is clearer and I can see

that you love me for who I am

I have only myself to offer

Short changed! i hope not madam

 

 

Man’s best friends!

What a morning I’ve had with our dogs so far today. I understand they want to protect us and the house they love us unconditionally and barking is how they warn people away. I was up and awake before them today, walked past them and down the stairs not so much as a glance at me. We have 2 dogs a loving Akita/collie cross called bailey and the greedy, selective hearing, destructive menace staffie called elsa.

Made a coffee and settled down to check the news, nothing to really worry about today all is well. I hear the thuds, here comes elsa charging down stairs and bursts in…with boxer shorts in her mouth. lunging towards me then jumping back, I am not playing I just want the boxers. My demands for the boxers are ignored my movement towards her, sparks a whirlwind of her running and me chasing her, cornered in the bathroom I retrieve the boxers, game over. Awakened by the noise, everbody is up and out of bed.

Back downstairs I make my wife a cup of tea and put out the kids cereal on the dining room table. Back door open and I let the dogs out into the garden, and join my wife watching the news, i am asked why i think its necessary to torment the dogs! What can I say other than it was not my fault it was her, which i know sounds very childish but its also very true. Not amused and needing to get ready for work she heads upstairs.

I decide to feed the dogs, in the hall I notice muddy paw prints heading towards the dining room. I feel sick and follow the paw prints. There sitting on the table she is finishing off the kids breakfast, she sees me and doesn’t even move! We just stare at each other for a second then she just starts eating again! I scream at her thinking she’ll jump down and run. She doesn’t. My wife screams “why are you letting her do that, honestly!” We say goodbye to each other, she needs to leave for work and the kids set off for school.

I put a load of washing in. Washed and ready mIyself i set out on my jobs. Our nice dog bailey is laying in front of the fire with elsa. I think all dogs love doing that. I start out on doing my chores.

I wash out the paw prints and antibac the table, bowls and cups washed, clothes in the dryer, New wash set off and a bit of vacuuming. coffee break a then start my priorities.

I have a little pond with some goldfish in, I like to take a bucket full of water out every other day, I do have a pump and biofilter system but I like to use the bucket for an extra bit water change. Indoors a 20% water change for the cichlid aquarium and now I can chill out. In the living the nice dog now has a shredded sock in his mouth which I am guessing has been used in a tug of competition with el Diablo.

Today they arent man’s best friend but I love them unconditionally too

Dear, Reader….

The difficulties of trying to cope with autism can in some cases cause other problems. In my case it led depression and serious bouts of anxiety. These feelings were hidden behind the guise of shyness and uncomfortable smile. Diagnosis confirmed my thoughts that I was different to other people, only fuelling my thirst for understanding and with understanding came the reality. The real reality that I was different.

I’d always felt different but getting confirmation hadn’t given me any comfort or the feeling that is going to be ok. I’d always been ok with things as they were, I sort of coped with things my way. I was just a bit quirky to other people and as it had always been ok then I thought nothing would change.

But unfortunately it did change. Feeling that now I knew for sure I would be able to address the areas I felt needed addressing, I self guessed the correct answers to questions, thinking about my answers editing them before I spoke and doing the same thing with my questions to other people. This only caused more confusion in my mind, I began noticing little changes in peoples’ sort of awareness or presence of me being around an unease if you like. Time went by and I felt worse about every day, I wasn’t dealing with it very well and I couldn’t ask them for help, I couldn’t make sense of it. I didn’t know what to do about it, so I just tried to carry on.

It happened on a Wednesday morning (I think) about 10am I stood up and walked out to the car park and drove towards home in tears, feeling angrier than I’d ever felt before, sweating, shaking and screaming I pulled over and was sick in the ). I sat in the car again tried to calm myself and headed off home. I phoned my wife and told her what I’d done, instantly supportive she took a half day and came home. We chatted through what had happened over the previous weeks, we agreed I’d visit the doctor to talk it through with him, he signed me off work for a month with anxiety. I informed work I’d be off and they were good about it and asked to be informed of any changes in my health.

After 2 weeks of not leaving the house, my wife asked if we could go for a meal or drink that night, it would be good for me we agreed. Within an hour we were at our favourite restaurant sat waiting to order. I knew as we’d walked in things weren’t quite right I was uncomfortable it was busy and loud. Mel asked if i was ok i laughed and said yeah. she stood up and said she wanted to go home, that I didn’t look to well and she wanted to go home. So we left.

At home she told me that I’d been looking vacant and yawning with a sort of twitches in between each yawn I didn’t believe her at first but I did in the end, why would she lie about it. We agreed to leave it for the time being to wait and see how things went. Things didn’t go well, every time i left the house the twitching and yawning would happen and we both agreed we needed another trip to see the doctor. Before the appointment came around I noticed the yawning and twitching only really happened when other people were around me. We explained this to the doctor, He again diagnosed and issued some tablets along with a 12 week sick note, we talked about work and how I was coping being at home all day etc.

I informed work of the extended sick note and they seemed concerned about me and if I needed any thing just to let them know and they’d sort it out. I was pleased to hear their support.

Other than the doctors I hadn’t been outside for many weeks i just sat there looking across the fields to the farm that stretched across the hill above us so I decided to have a walk around the village. I turned back at the end of the street, things weren’t good. Mel and I spoke that night about my health, work and how we’d figure it out together. The sick note had a couple of weeks left so we would return once more to the doctor.

We had a good open chat about everything that was going on, he said i was suffering from depression as well as anxiety and I would be better off mentally to leave work and concentrate on my health. Another month’s sick note and a prescription for sertraline. The discussion at home ended when we had agreed I would leave work, keep taking the tablets and get better, it sounded like a plan.

Work would send HR to the house to finalise the paperwork. They came soon after we filled the paperwork and I thought that was that, but work had decided to pay a good will settlement to me financially and I’ll always be grateful to Clancy Docwra for their understanding and support during a very difficult period in my life. Thanks again to a great company. God bless you.

In time I’d take the dog for walks late at night to get used to being outside, on occasion I’d bump into a friend going home from the pub and have a bit chat about nothing and everything. I felt like things had started to get better. I was right Mel and I decided to try the local pub at tea time as it was less busy and that worked out well for us. Restaurants were next and progressed from there. Things were getting better.

Now 5 years later I’m still on the tablets but life is so much better now. Yes I’m still inappropriate at times. I still don’t understand some of the jokes. I still feel awkward around a large crowd and I still hate loud music. I am very lucky to be high functioning.

Please. If your feeling down or lonely, scared or uncertain try to talk about with someone. You are not alone ok. You might need a little bit of help to get better.

Don’t be ashamed to ask for help.