Posted in Autsim

Dissertation..

Hola (take forty-three) Amigos!

Look at me back on another update, this could be the best my blog has ever gone! How are we all?

I have a quick question..I do an English and creative writing course and I’ve now chosen what to do for my dissertation. I’m going to do a day in the life of a young autistic boy facing primary school, maybe about 11 years old so he knows enough that I’m able to write from his point of view. Of course I have to do research even though I have some of my own experiences that can help me. However, does anyone know of any really good series/films/books that portray an autistic person well? I’ve watched some and read some but any suggestions could really help. Especially when recommended by someone who knows what an autistic person is actually like rather than how the media sometimes wrongly portrays them. Also, if anyone has a boy with autism could you possibly reply/email me some ways they dealt with school at a young age..did they lash out? did they mask it quite well? I’m a girl and I always masked it brilliantly and struggled internally but I know boys are more commonly known for showing it overtly, I didn’t know if this is true in your cases? Anyone with girls either are more than welcome to send me some tips, I just want to know more about how they dealt with school and their coping mechanisms, any routines they had? Just anything really as I’m mostly going by my own experiences and obviously everyone’s different! Also a film/series/book based on a younger boy with autism would really help as most are focused on someone older. I’ve watched the A word btw! Any little tips or ideas could really help this story come alive!

Thank you for any help at all, it’s always appreciated it. If you’d like to email me it’s abigailbrookshalling@gmail.com.

Thankyou,

Abigail J

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Posted in Autsim

Facing a new world..

Hola (take forty-two) Amigos!

Again, in true Abbi style I’m sorry for the delay. I think the demands of a blog makes me more reluctant to write them. Therefore, I do it very rarely to keep it more enjoyable for myself. I am working on getting better, although I have said that for the last 5 years..can you believe it, it’s been 5 years since I wrote my first post!

I guess I wanted to do a post on how autistic people are finding coping with this crazy world we suddenly have been forced into? Please let me know how you’re finding it, either in the comments or drop me an email! I find it interesting to know how we’re all finding our way around it.

I’m, personally, finding it very strange, as everyone is. I’ve found myself in two very contrasting sides of it. Sometimes, I love it. It seems a dream come true for us right? You can stay at home, you don’t need to socialise outside of your family and the demands of every day life seem to have simplified to just the easiest parts, eg showering, eating, waking up etc. At the start of it all, now nearly 6 months ago?! I loved it if I’m honest. I didn’t have to go to University, I didn’t have to show my face with friends to socialise and keep on top of my anxiety. It was quite simple, I stayed at home because I HAD to and that seems like the best excuse I’ve used in my 20 years. However, that’s not to say it hasn’t been extremely difficult at times. I find now nearer the end that I’ve struggled more and more, very similar to how everyone has! You start to get bored, you end up missing the family and friends that you normally find excuses to not meet up with and you beg for some kind of normality back.

I struggled when I had to finally write my Uni essays that needed handed in, I had no motivation and really struggled to knuckle down and complete them. I normally plan and complete them with enough time to spare. This time it was different though, I suddenly found myself writing them in the days before they were due. They were constantly on my mind but I couldn’t find the motivation to do them, the longer I put it off the bigger the demand got and the more increased my anxiety got, therefore I’d go into a mental block and wouldn’t be able to write them. It seemed like a never ending cycle. However, by some miracle I did get them done in time and I came out with a 2:1 in my second year of Uni, which I’m thoroughly chuffed about.

I’ve found going back into ‘normal’ life a lot easier than I thought I would. I know and understand that many have anxiety about going out and facing the new world that we’ve been thrown into. However, I haven’t struggled with this, which I’m quite surprised at. I think I’d got to the point where I craved somewhat of a routine back, therefore the corona virus became the last thing on my mind when I could get out. The one thing I’ve greatly struggled with is masks, how are you guys finding them? I manage them fairly decently in quick trips to the supermarkets but if I start to think about it too much when I’m wearing them I feel massively claustrophobic and struggle to keep breathing normally. I decided I needed a hairdressers appointment badly after all this time in lockdown. I didn’t even think when I booked it about the mask situation. I then started to panic thinking about how I’d need it on non-stop for about 3 hours and I don’t like the hairdressers anyway, that chitchat is really hard for me to keep up with. I did successfully wear it for 3 hours whilst my hair was cut, dyed and dried though, which seemed like a good enough achievement for me.

I know it’s a really weird time for us all! Especially when you have autism as it increases anxiety a lot about the change of routine. How did you guys find it/how are you finding it? Let me know!

As always, I do reply on emails quickly I promise! So please feel free to have a chat with me or ask me some questions if you’d like – abigailbrookshalling@gmail.com

Thank you,

Abigail J

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Posted in Uncategorized

The Update you all need/deserve..

Hola (take forty-one) Amigos!

First of all, I’ve had so much feedback already from my last post, so thank-you. I’m slightly overwhelmed; I did not expect people to still be following me, let alone interested in what I was saying. So, thank-you, I’m so unbelievably grateful.

There’s a lot of things I want to say, a lot of topics I want to write about, but I guess it’s only fair that this one is an update. After all, in 2 years a hell of a lot has changed!

One thing I noticed was that my second latest post was written after I lost my dog. When I finally posted again this morning, amidst a break down. I took note of the date. 05.03 – Murphy’s birthday, he would have been 15! I feel like it’s almost a sign that he’s still with me. It’s crazy how I can still miss him so much, as us with PDA know it’s easy to get obsessions, it’s clear to me now for a long 13 years my obsession was him. No one could make me happier. He consoled me in a way no human could ever understand and it still feels like half my heart has gone. We’ve got another Labrador now, a golden one called Sullivan, he’s now 2 and the cheekiest pup I’ve ever known. I love him to bits but there’s a special place in my heart for Murph and the rest of the shattered bits seem to be glued up with memories of him.

Another thing is an update on my life, in general. I posted how I got into Uni, however, I never officially said that I went. I have infact made it. September 2018, I packed my bags and moved out of my home, into a place I didn’t know with people I didn’t know! This is huuuuuge – not just for PDA’ers but absolutely anyone. That first night I cried and cried and cried, wanting to pack my bags back up and return to the safety of my own home. However, after many months of going back home during the weekend, I started to settle in. It was a constant battle but if I hadn’t stayed at uni and deferred a year, I knew I’d never have stepped foot in education again. It’s unbelievable now, but this little city of Lincoln is my home away from home. I sit here typing this up with my flatmate opposite me in our own little apartment. Trust me, when I say life has one hell of a weird way of working out. I don’t want to mistake you, and say it’s all butterflies and rainbows, it really isn’t. I just had half term and I was dreading coming back, thoughts of dropping out came into my head. But, if it’s one thing I owe my Mum (I owe her a lot), I’m no quitter! I’m over half way through this uni experience and the end is in light. Also, terrifying though – starting my dissertation brings anxiety bubbling over and it’s scary to think of life after uni now. But, at the moment, uni is chugging along nicely and my English and creative writing course doesn’t seem to be a regret – I say this now, before I start my dissertation, haha!

I also know it’s important to update you on the job front. As we all remember my anxiety to get an interview and then getting the job and quitting before I even started! April 2019 I started a job at All Bar One, with my sister working there I had a security blanket. I was meant to just be a glass collector but one thing led to another and I seemed to be doing as much as everyone else. I’ve made some amazing friends and it’s here I met my boyfriend. I, since quit, in January as I want an easier schedule over summer in regards to a job. I’m going to be starting my dissertation and working until 2am isn’t what I need. So there’s that. Another massive achievement, who’d have thought it?!

Update on the relationship, if you saw my usual rant last night I’m going backwards and seem to be stuck in a rut. I love him to pieces and I know it’s not the end of us but I really could still do with some advice on how to stop PDA getting on top of me during relationships. I’m not naive to the fact my young age is also a player in the problems but I know it’s mostly me going through a down phase and with high anxiety, therefore my PDA is boiling over. All will be fine, I know it will be. Sometimes, it takes a while to prove it to yourself though.

Anyway, these are the basic updates I guess. Other than, I’m now 19 and July is coming ever close which means I’m coming to the end of my teens! I was 15 when I first wrote my blog, how crazy! I’ll be back very soon with certain topics that I know I want to discuss, but you all deserve to know where I’m at now, so I guess that’s it.

As always, thank you and if you got this far I’m immensely amazed! My email is always open – abigailbrookshalling@gmail.com – feel free to message me at any point, with advice, questions, or topics you’d want me to write on. Please also send this blog around for anyone it could help, as always if I help one person then my job here is achieved.

Thank you,

Abigail J

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Posted in Autsim

PDA’ers & Relationships..

Hola (take ??) Amigos,

Guess what? I’m sorry. But, no, wait, I really am. It’s almost been 2 years..what?? Where has time gone?? Massive life update *pending*. It’s been a hell of a long while so for that I can only apologise. This blog is constantly in my mind and I know I need to get back to it but the demands of uni seem to be winning the battle so far. Lots of new things are going on with me, as I’m sure they are with all of you. However, I’ll touch base on that soon (I promise).

This blog post particularly is actually one that I think about writing a lot. However, tonight seems to be the night to do it. I’m currently sat in my bed, crying at 1am wondering if I’m just cursed when it comes to a romantic relationship or if PDA plays a massive part in it?

So, I’ve had 2 previous relationships – both of which went sour from 8 months and completely ended at 13 months. I’m not sure if it’s because I pick the bad ones, because I’m too young, because I get bored easily (which I do) or if the demands simply get too much.

I’m now just past 8 months with my partner, and as per previous experiences, the arguing has increased..a lot. We’ve gone from never arguing to it happening fairly often. It’s normally me egging it on over something very small but still something that’s really affected me (regardless of the fact that it wasn’t intended to and to be honest it shouldn’t make me annoyed.) I get to this point and I just can’t help but see the benefits of being single. It’s not to do with how I’ve fallen out of love or anything remotely to do with him. Just, that it’s getting too much. I find myself crying more easily and struggling with communication (especially over text whilst I’m at uni.) I just come to a sort of block where 2 days are fine and then the next, anything and everything seems to irritate the hell out of me. I’m fighting a constant battle with my own head which seems to tell me to abort all missions and run miles.

I know I normally try to help with my blogs (albeit, it’s been a while) but this time I’m begging for advice..is it normal? Is this just young adult life? Is it to do with PDA? If anyone has any advice, it’d be much appreciated as it feels like I’m at a dead end. Again.

As always my email is abigailbrookshalling@gmail.com and although I don’t post that much, that email is always open to anyone who needs the help.

Thank you,

ABIGAIL J

X X X

Posted in Uncategorized

I lost my best friend..

Hola (take thirty-nine) Amigos!

I’ve been trying to write this specific blog post for 9 very long weeks but in all honesty I’m still struggling to find the words. On the 29th April, I lost my best friend, my wee doggo. I’ve never felt an emptiness in my heart like I have since his heart beat for the very last time. It’s so tricky to explain but when he’s been around since I was just 4 (I’m now nearly 18) I’ve never known any different. After all these weeks I still expect him to come running up to me when I come through the front door. I still expect to have his hair all over my leggings. I still expect to hear his collar jingle. I still expect to hear his paws on the wooden flooring. I still expect to hear him panting. But mostly, I still expect to have my best friend here whenever I need him.

They always say it gets easier with time but currently every day is breaking my heart more..I ache to be able to stroke him one last time. The grief I’ve felt since he passed is a whole new level. There’s a constant dark cloud hanging over me knowing he isn’t here and never will be again. Today was particularly hard as we were looking through old photos and he’s in every single one snooping in the back ground, how I wish he could still do this now. Home is just not home anymore and I know it’ll never be the same. No doggo will ever replace the wee rascal that never even barked.

My heart broke as you breathed for the last time and the vet said you’d gone, nothing has and nothing will be able to put back the shattered parts that went with you that day. The tears are still with me that came when they picked you up and you were floppy, lifeless. However, I know you’re the brightest star in the sky now and that’s what matters.

There’ll always be a special place in my heart for you my gorgeous baby boy. I wish words could do justice to how amazing you were. If I could go back to being young and playing catch with you I’d go there in an instant. I thank my lucky stars that you were able to be my families because you were so perfect, gentle and compassionate. I’m so grateful for the 13 years I had with you. I hope you know how missed and loved you are because I’m broken hearted down here. Keep a space up there warm for me for when I can come and give you all them cuddles you’ve missed out on. I love you and I always always will. Just know that if love could’ve kept you alive you’d have been with us forever. Sleep tight my guardian angel x

Abigail J

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Posted in anxiety

I USED to have a phobia..

Hola (take thirty-eight) Amigos!

This is a subject I haven’t spoken about before on this blog but I feel like now is as good a time as ever. From the age of about 7 to the age of 15 I battled a serious phobia of rain. It seems pathetic and laughable now, for years I couldn’t get my head around it, CAMHS never overly helped me get over this phobia instead just taught me relaxation techniques and gave me risperidone to hide the anxiety I actually experienced every time a dark cloud came over where I was. With a blog about this I guess the best way to start is at the beginning so here goes..

I know now that this phobia stemmed from my mum being taken into hospital for a serious illness with her heart when I was only 6. When the ambulance came the weather was a usual miserable and dark January day. This became what I focused on when my mum was taken away from me for 8 very long weeks. I have always been close with my Mum, since I was a baby it’s always been her that’s my rock and every scary hospital appointment I had she would be the one by my side. To have that suddenly taken away from me was traumatic and would’ve been for anyone – even more so when I had attachment disorder to her. The easiest thing to blame in my mind was the weather, this escalated until I had a major phobia of the rain, and I don’t use the word phobia lightly – my pet hate now is the word phobia being used wrongly. For 8 very long years of my life, everytime it rained or it was slightly dark outside the emotions I felt as a 6 year old whose Mother was likely to die would fill me.

It took over my life, at every CAMHS meeting I would lie and pretend I was okay, rating my excruciating fear as only a 4/10 when really it was easily a 9 if not a 10. The arguments I used to have with my mum who would stress to me not to sugar coat it because I really did need help was unbelievable. I had one psychiatrist that helped me for several years, coming to my house to teach me relaxation techniques and i’d slowly get better, but once she left CAMHS I hit an all time low. This phobia took over my life, living in England, rain is not something you can avoid easily and my school attendance as well as my social life really did plummet. Eventually, I got to an age (15) where I wanted to stop letting this one petty thing control me and I was determined to go through whatever I needed to do to get rid of this phobia. I had meetings with a woman who came to me at school weekly and after 6 months of sessions with her I finally felt ready to fight this battle on my own. I’m still convinced I owe it to her but she used to drill into me that it was me who overcame this fear on my own and she only provided me with the tools needed to do so. To this day I feel like I owe her my life as she really did completely change it but I know it was my determinism that got me past this phobia which controlled every aspect of my life.

The reason I thought about writing this blog was because today I was driving on my way home and the rain was pouring down, for the first time in a long while I tried to remember what it was like to be filled with anxiety while water came from the sky. Now, it’s almost impossible to remember the life I had with a rain phobia, one that was controlled by an emotion of being purely terrified. There is simply no other word to use which would explain the way I felt, I was consumed by the emotion of being terrified, even on sunny days I was worried about the next time the rain would fall. I was the only child to have their most used app as the weather forecast. To anyone who has a serious phobia then I understand, the most important thing to remember though is that the emotion you feel about your phobic is not due to that, it’s due to what you associated with it. It’s important to separate these two things and to admit to yourself why you feel like you do. It means talking about a traumatic experience in your life but I assure you it’s worth it. Separating your emotions and your phobic stimulus is a key factor in overcoming your phobia and I wish I’d learnt that in CAMHS, long before the mentor I had through school.

A few years ago my biggest want in life was the Speakmans (if you’ve heard of them you know they’re amazing at helping people overcome their phobias) to reply to my countless emails asking for help. Now, my aims in life include being a successful author and having a family of my own one day..if this isn’t proof life gets better then I simply don’t know what is. We all have the strength to overcome the demons we give ourselves. The brain is a very scary place when it leaves you challenging whether life really is worth it but I promise you it is. Mental health problems are not something to fear, if you need help I beg you to talk to someone.

I’m only ever an email away – abigailbrookshalling@gmail.com

Thank you,

Abigail J

X X X

Posted in Autsim

Autism Awareness Month..

Hola (take thirty-seven) Amigos!

April is autism awareness month and I can’t stress enough how important it is that we all place emphasis on the many diagnosis that come under autism. Most people have heard about it and everyone has definitely held an interaction with someone that’s autistic – the majority of the time though you wouldn’t even notice. Those with autism struggle on a daily basis and most of them go unnoticed. Please pay extra attention to those who need it and make sure they know you’re around for them. Some will never feel comfortable telling others they have autism and that’s the horrid stigma of the world we live in.

Most importantly though, DON’T ‘light it up blue’ – this phrase comes from autism speaks – a charity which the majority of those with autism and carers of autistic people despise. First of all, they place emphasis on it being blue because they see the majority of those with autism as ‘boys’ this really isn’t true. They may have a higher percentage of those diagnosed but this generally is more down to the fact girls are better at ‘hiding’ and ‘masking’ it. Their logo is a puzzle piece and this is because they see those with autism as people who have something missing and are therefore not completed people. The aim of this charity is to find a cure for autism – a cure that will never be found and a cure that definitely doesn’t need to be found. Those with autism generally have higher IQ’s than those without. Some of the most famous and highly respected people are autistic – take Tom Hanks, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein and Susan Boyle for just a tiny handful of examples. Those with autism do not need a cure, they need someone to understand and help when times get tough. They need the stigma of this world to go away, yes we’ve come a long way but we’re no way near close enough. The majority of Autism Speaks funds go to looking for a cure and a test for pregnant women to test if they’re child will have autism and then make the decision of aborting it if they choose to. This shouldn’t be allowed under any circumstances. Autism doesn’t ruin someone’s life, it enhances it. So please, take April as a time to think and look out for those with autism but don’t light it up blue before you’re educated on the charity who promotes this (autism speaks). We’re a world that needs educating and understanding on a disability that has so many beautiful aspects, even if it means they struggle more than others.

As always, email if you need anything or want to ask anything – abigailbrookshalling@gmail.com

Thank you.

Abigail J

X X X

Posted in anxiety, Autsim, Daily update, Uncategorized

Easter and a very low gal..

Hola (take thirty-six) Amigos!

As usual, I’m going to start this blog how I start every other – sorry for the lack of updates! Life’s really getting on top of me at the moment, and I’m at a proper low point. So here’s a nice rant for you all to enjoy!

So 3 weeks ago me and my boyfriend broke up after over a year together, it’s been really tough on me. Originally, it was my idea but as usual it was a rash decision and when I went to see if we could work out he didn’t want me anymore. It’s been so horrible as my self confidence is always low but when someone you really want looks you in the eyes and says they don’t want you anymore it really bloody hurts. I’ve been struggling with the change of routine more than most people would, I’m trying to readjust to being at home most nights or making plans with others. It’s weird not to be round his every weekend and most weekdays but it always takes getting used to no matter what and I understand that. However, the worst thing about it all is that it’s turned my mental health into complete chaos and if I’m truly honest I haven’t felt this down in a very long time.

There’s been nights I’ve cried myself to sleep, nights I’ve drove and drove and drove. I’ve been in such a low place that at times I’ve considered if the world would be a better place without me. My whole happiness has been snatched away and it’s left me with a very dark cloud hovering above me and I’m losing the will to try and get it to go away. I’ve lost most of my motivation for school work and found myself not going in much at all. I’ve lost the excitement of going to university and I’m starting to think maybe it’s best I stay at home. In all honesty, it’s just been an awful couple of weeks and I’m trying to find the light at the end of the tunnel, sometimes though you have to shine your own light and I guess this is one of those times.

I have every hope I’ll find my own happiness again soon enough but I hope it comes in the next week or so as I’m struggling with this weight on my shoulders. It’s all too much stress. The problem with PDA is that you get obsessions with things or people, mine just so happens to be people and my boyfriends end up being the obsession. They don’t know this of course, when we’re going out I’m no different in that aspect to anyone else. However, it’s the aftermath that hits me harder than most. I find myself struggling to find a reason to live and with a new goal to find my happiness in someone else. But I did that last time and I’ve ended up even worse than I was after my last break up so I’m not doing that this time. This is the first time I’ve been on my own for a long period of time (for about 2.5 years) and I’m fully aware it’s now time to find the happiness in myself, no matter how hard it seems.

So for anyone else in a really dark place, struggling to find the positives, I promise you you’re not alone. There’s much better times coming, make sure you’re around to see them. You’ve impacted more lives than you’ll ever know. When you’re in such a down phase it’s easy to dismiss the people that love you, to feel like the world would be a much better place without you around but I can assure you that’s not the case. Everyday you make an impact on people’s lives that you wouldn’t even know; the people at home who are comforted just by your presence, your close friends that do nothing but laugh with you when you’re around, your pet who runs up to you as soon as they sense your sad, the distant family members who’ve recently liked your facebook posts, the bus driver who sees you every morning on your way to school, the local shop worker who always scans through your favourite chocolate bar, even the person you walked past in the street last night. ALL these people have been impacted by your presence and would feel deep sadness if they didn’t see you most days. Your life is worth living, the future brings so much happiness so please make sure you’re around to see it happen.

As always, I’m an email away and I reply much faster on there than I’m active on here! – abigailbrookshalling@gmail.com

Thank you so much for reading if you do get the far – it’s been very ramble-y!

Also, Happy Easter – eat all your chocolate and worry about the weight after, you’re all beautiful!

Much love to you all

Abigail J

X X X

Posted in Daily update

DRIVING..

Hola (take thirty-five) Amigos!

I will get back to my proper blogging in the very near future! But for now I wanted you all to know that just under 2 weeks ago I passed my driving test! I only turned 17 in July and now I’m driving around, I’m very proud!

So for everyone with PDA or any type of autism that is petrified of their driving test, as scary as it seems it is okay and you will be fine! As I’m someone who refuses all demands (obviously due to my diagnosis) and I still passed first time, anyone can!

Thank you

Always feel free to email me still – Abigailbrookshalling@gmail.com as I always keep on top of them, I’m only rubbish with my blog!!

Abigail J

X X X

Posted in Daily update

I GOT IN..

Hola (take thirty-four) Amigos!

Just a quick one to share my glee with you lot! I GOT AN UNCONDITIONAL OFFER FROM LINCOLN YESTERDAY! I’m in the uni no matter how bad I do in my A levels now and it’s so nice to have the weight off my shoulder.

I’ll catch up soon, love you all.

Thank you,

Abigail J

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