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I love my own bed… (by Daryl Roberts).

 Describing it to girlfriends was very hard, understanding it myself was equally as hard. The overwhelming desire to sleep in my own bed, on my own has always been strong. Women have accused me of only wanting them for “one thing” despite my protesting that this is not the case.

At first I could never understand where they were coming from because I knew for certain in my mind what I was thinking. Back in 2012, one girl tried to understand it and would happily let me leave her flat in the early hours of the morning, without too much fuss. Although appearing to be happy on the outside, one night her mask slipped and I would detect the disappointment in her voice. “Do you not want to stay and cuddle up with me?” she asked.  I found myself replying “I don’t feel comfortable in here though,” as I was quickly getting dressed.

I then opened her bedroom door to the loud creaking sound it would make in the middle of the night, a momentary burst of frustration flooding through me due to the fact that I had once again forgotten to bring my canister of WD-40 round. I bid her goodbye on my way out of the room, to be met with a sigh, I was relieved I couldn’t see the look on her face as the only light coming into the room was from the streetlights outside.

As I opened her front door a wave of guilt started to build up inside. I stopped still, halfway out the door, before stepping back inside. I turned to face the hallway, thinking to myself should I go back to her room and be with her? I felt my heart rate speed up as well as my body feeling warmer. I have always hated indecision, doubting myself as to if I’m doing the right thing. I was about the close the front door but then pulled it back once again. This time, stepping through and shutting the door. That sinking feeling of not being able to change my mind and knock on her door without waking her kids up was enough to bring on that familiar guilty feeling.

That same feeling stayed with me during the walk home in the dark whilst glancing around to make sure there was nobody suspicious lurking in the shadows. I kept thinking to myself, ‘Why can’t I stay with her, why?’

As soon as I got back home, that guilty feeling soon lifted feeling content now that I was in my own bed.

By Daryl Roberts.

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Hi everyone. My name is Andy. I am 53 years old and was diagnosed with Asperger’s 2 years ago. Quite a revelation I assure you!

I learnt that there are three distinct phases that one must go through around the diagnosis;

  1. The crisis leading to you seeking a diagnosis.
  2. The initial post diagnosis period of assimilating the information and working out how it affects you those around you, what help to seek and how to live from this point onwards.
  3. Being at peace with who you are. Managing how your Asperger’s affects you and using the gift side of Asperger’s to your advantage.

It all came to a head for me after years of being frustrated and constantly stressed at work. I had found that when I had my own office I would shut the door, put my music on and I could work to an almost manically efficient level.

Then the management interference started. I was told I had to share the office with a colleague. He liked to work totally differently. He was social animal and would love to chat. He would leave the door open adn invite people in for coffee. Although I didn’t understand why it was completely stressing me out.

The crunch for me came when they decided to centralise my Dept to another town. I was to share and office with 3 other people. As the date of the move came nearer I was panicking and becoming more and more stressed. I instinctively knew that the new environment was going to prove impossible to me. I was struggling to explain why, even to myself.

I arrived. The new office was cramped, the people were friendly but very noisy. I couldn’t get a radio signal to distract myself with. It was situated in the busiest corridor of the building and people would gather outside the door to chat. I found it impossible to concentrate.

I lasted 48 hours. I had a breakdown. I was off sick for 11 months.

During this period I started to read. I always knew I was somehow different. Now I started to wonder why and what was a reason behind my seemingly abnormal need for a unique work environment. I suspected I was Autistic, but didn’t fit what my mental image of someone with Autism is.

I knew that far from having speech and language difficulties as a young child I was the opposite. I had early speech and was reading before I went to school. I then learnt about Asperger’s and read the traits. I realised that they were describing me! I found an online Asperger’s test and scored well above the Asperger’s threshold.

I was called in to the Occupational Health Dept at work for a Psychiatric Evaluation. These showed that I was most likely Autistic along with either Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or General Anxiety Disorder. I felt the results of the tests frightened them. They wouldn’t assist me in obtaining a diagnosis, told me to go to the NHS and withdrew all support. My employer then started trying to force me back to work as I had no diagnosis.

My GP was really supportive. He tried his very best to get me the diagnosis and help that I desperately needed. Unfortunately the Mental Health Team reported back that they weren’t able to help me unless I was in immediate danger of suicide. I wasn’t, but was never assessed to see if this was the case.

MY GP then asked me if I was prepared to pay for a diagnosis. I readily agreed and within days I saw an Autism Consultant. A one hour meeting confirmed that I do indeed have an Aspie Brain.

Long story short, a senior manager took over my case at work, consulted with the National Autistic Society and found me an Autism Friendly Environment to work in. I was back at work and was incredibly efficient and productive for the 12 months I stayed until I took early retirement.

In my next blog I will talk about what happened in the initial post diagnosis phase.

Thank you for reading.

Andy

 

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