After i left university i had no friends and was sick of studying boring incomprehensible English literature .I had loved it at Gcse and A level but the bullying of some students and the indifference of the tutors towards me at university had squashed my interest in it. I didnt have a clue what i wanted to after i left university. I applied to a PGCE in teacher training at primary level as i always wanted to be a teacher. Unfortunately it was a major mistake. I couldnt do any of the work and i was so lonely again i had no friends on the course and i was crazily sexually frustrated towards so many men and yet i never got sex. It was constant lasting friendship that i craved deeply.I couldnt concentrate on the work either and i just couldnt cope there. A tutor said to me that i was a big cause for concern on the course, that i had no friends and was unable to form and maintain friendships with either staff or other university students and she said all the tutors apart from one were concerned about me. She said i would never make it as a teacher and they didnt know how i ever got accepted on the course. I was devastated and pulled out of the course the next day. The consequences were dire: i couldnt find any employment anywhere and i had terrible rows with some of my family that permanently ruined my relationships with them. I sank into deep depression and just couldnt get any job anywhere. In 1998 i went for an interview somewhere and the person who was supposed to be interviewing me was forty minutes late and then said he had forgotten about me coming for an interview. He was horrible to me and never rang me the next few days to tell me if i had got the job. When i rang up he was horrible to me, saying no i didnt get the job and he didnt ring me to tell me because he didnt think i was worth it. I don't work and haven't worked for over twenty years.This is partly due to me becoming very mentally ill towards the end of 1999 and having a nervous breakdown throughout 2000. I was put on medication and i got better for a couple of years but then had major problems again and had a second severe nervous breakdown in 2003 during which i was quite psychotic again. During the times in my life when i worked i was picked on very very often and made to feel that i was inferior to other workers and that my work was much more inadequate . I was often targeted by other workers for being gay and in those days (mid to late 90's) there was a fair amount of negativity about being gay. I was laughed at by some other workers for other reasons such as some used to say i looked like a rodent.
This filled me unbearable pain because i was called this by some pupils at school. I had virtually no self esteem or confidence before school and even less after the times i worked. I started suffering from depression and obsessive compulsive disorder in late 1991 after anxiety was unmanageable and i was doing badly at school and was being constantly verbally targeted and i hadn't accepted or even was fully aware that i was gay.I always feel very very resentful about what happened once when i had a job interview. It was one chance to do a job that i feel i could do. I went there for the interview and they said that they would let me know. They didnt ring so i rang up. They said i hadn't got the job. I was so angry and hurt, i could have got a job there yet i wasn't given a chance. I had a row with somebody a few days after that and it permanently ruined a relationship. If only i had been given that job then things may have been different in several ways. Again i hadnt been given a chance.The same thing happened in another year when i applied to do voluntary work at a library and was told that i was too nervy to be accepted at the library and also the year before i was at an interview about tax discs and i didnt understand how to do it and so i told them and the jobcentre then blamed me for not accepting the job, saying that i could have done it. But i couldnt have done it as i just couldnt understand it. This is another example of how people just don't understand how autism affects people and how being able to do some things does not mean that someone is able to do other things that people take for granted.I had applied At other temp jobs i had i was treated badly and made to feel like an outsider. Once i was typing as fast as i possibly could and yet the boss was picking on me saying im not doing it fast enough. How could i have not been doing it fast enough when my fingers were working none stop ?He kept other workers on for a longer time but didnt keep me on. I felt victimised and left out. Other workers made fun of my effeminacy and said things like ,"don't forget your handbag." When an interviewer ends your interview with another "Dont forget your handbag," then you just know that they don't take you seriously and you haven't got the job.I found work very very difficult and i got depressed at a temp job in 1998 and the other workers didnt know how to behave around me and i felt so trapped there. Two workers really disliked me and i started having obsessive lying negative thoughts at work and became paranoid. I also found work very difficult and i couldnt do what others could do such as make boxes out of cardboard.One woman called me and somebody else "Dumb and Dumber" because i wasn't able to pack a box properly. She was calling me stupid and this upset me a lot.Some workers were nice and some staff were nice. But overall i have horrible memories of when i worked. It was like when at secondary school and i was really picked on by a nasty teacher just because i couldnt understand how to measure angles properly.i got lost on a run in a park once and he hated me even more after that because he had to explain to the deputy master why i hadnt returned to school with everyone else. I had got lost and i hadnt known where i was and ended up knocking on the door of a house somewhere and had to get a taxi back to school. He made me run round the school field three times and then when i had to report to him to say i had done it he said "You're not even sweating". But i was absolutely exhausted. He also put me in detention some years before because he thought i hadnt done the homework properly as i hadnt measured the angles correctly. But this was not because i did it on purpose or because i couldnt be bothered, it was because i couldn't understand how to do it properly. He also made fun of my physical appearance and commented "are there any rats in the river Mersey?" and again i was being laughed at for looking like a rodent, only this time it was a teacher who was commenting it and not pupils. He really hated me. It filled me with pain again and i continued to feel like an alien compared to everyone else. I found working so unpleasant, having to stick to doing work that was so boring and the only way i could get through the day was to hum loads of music in my head over and over again. But after a while this got on my nerves as i had a headache from having to force myself to hum music. This is actually one of my gifts and talents - i have an ultrasensitive appreciation of music, and it began when i started primary school in 1982 when they used to play classical music in assembly each morning. I was totally fascinated by it and went to the musuc shop HMV at weekends to buy tape after tape until i had loads of tapes and records. Then i bought cds. When i went to university i was very very lonely there and couldnt make friends there and music was my only source of comfort. I have lots of cds and when i listen to symphonies its not just music; to me its emotional experiences through emotional worlds and colours and textures and im fascinated by the way the music is structured and connected and am also fascinated by how multitudes of different orchestras and conductors can make the same music sound totally different and dress it up in differeny colours and textures and bring out different emotions and landscapes on the music recording and how different speeds can make the music sound totally different , whether its played slow or fast or just differently judged.i used to play the flute at primary school but gave it up when i started high school . I wish i had kept it up . Im too anxious with atrocious concentration now to be able to learn or remember facts and figures.Music is one of the things that saves my life and makes me want to live on the earth.
Something someone might be surprised to know about me is that i can write poetry and can remember some scenes from old coronation street episodes (when it was great in the 70's and 80's, not as it is nowadays), i cannot tolerate watching it now, i get too angry and very jealous of the characters' lives and also i get very sexually wound up by some male casts of the soaps and as i am celibate and have never had a partner, i get very resentful that everybody works and has sex and has family and yet for me, i never had a partner (a lot is because of the bullying and very personal derogatory comments that were made to me throughout secondady school made me have body dysmorphia and made me feel like an alien and destroyed confidence in myself and this turns people off me). Another thing that people may be surprised to know about me is that i have a good memory for dates and can remember what date and what month and year some things happened on. For example i can remember what date it was when a pupil in the year or two above me saw me waiting next to him for the bus home and he said to me that "you are the ugliest person i have ever seen." I froze with pain and felt unbearable pain mentally all the way home. I remember it was on Monday 10th September 1990 and i had taken out "At Bertram's hotel," an Agatha Christie book from the school library that afternoon and i remember it had a darkish green cover i think.
In my opinion my biggest achievement so far has been trying my best to learn how to cope with uncontrollable rage and paranoia and extreme sexual frustration and trying to assuage feelings of disordered personality.Its the medication i take that has helped me with some of these awful problems. My other achievements include stopping smoking and getting three high grades at A level and getting through feelings of hate towards some people. My other achievements are being able to donate books and cds that i never thought i would feel able to get rid of.
How would i like to change the world? In many many ways!!!! I would ask the Royal family to fund charities such as RSPCA and PDSA and ask them to invest millions in mental health and autism and hospital services and cancer research and i would ask the Queen to send far right /racists/antisemites/
How would I change myself? I find it very hard to change myself, try as I do. I would like to be a calmer and more optimistic person and would love to be able to remember facts like I could when I was at schools. I would like to stop being so paranoid about things and I wish I could accept people as they are and wish I could understand TV programs and dramas and comedies - I just can't follow the story in a comedy eg 'allo 'allo and Dads Army really baffle me, I don't understand what the story is supposed to be about. And I can't empathise easily for example if I don't like or understand a program or a book or a recording of music then I can't understand how other people can understand or enjoy it. Like when I hear horrific news constantly then that seems to be giving people the impression that the world is a terrible place and that there's much to fear; yet why is it when I go out I see one person after another laughing and joking and looking happy? What are they so happy about , don't they listen to the news, do they not get worried or scared by what's going on? It just doesn't make sense and I can't read peoples expressions very often. And when people ask how youre feeling, then why do they except you to day "yes I'm OK" and why do they get do offended if you say "no I'm not alright"? Why do people criticise other people's faced, saying for example that they are miserable looking? If someone looks miserable then that is their expression and how can it be wrong? Some people have criticize me in past, saying "You look so miserable! So every time I look at you from now on I want you to be smiling." I felt hatred and rage towards some people who said this, I felt that I was offending people if I wasn't smiling so I used to force myself to smile but doing that caused me headaches and facial ache. When i had psychoses i felt persecuted , that some people were picking on me and made me feel like I was doing something wrong by not smiling. But loads of people walk around looking miserable, why do people think its a crime. Why do people pick on me? I don't understand people at all, they seem cruel and hypocritical?
I wish neurotypicals would understand how the world seems like a terrifying incomprehensible place full of loud noises that cause distress and how certain colours and the writing layout of words can cause sensory overload and how certain things can cause ultra sensitive reactions that are difficult to control. For me some accents that people have cause sensory arousal and heightened sexual responses and because I can't reveal it to the people who are talking, it stays inside causing low self esteem and depression which all stay stuck inside me .I wish people who were neurotypical understood issues like these as well as difficulty coping with changes and how this causes awful anxiety and doesn't mean we are attention seeking.
The resources that have benefitted me most have been art therapy (as it allows expressions of emotions in a more spontaneous way than words sometimes)and writing poems gets feelings out and calms my nerves. Face to face counselling has been therapeutic too and listening to music as therapy has saved my life
A funny or awkward story I would like to share is something that happened at university. I was with a French woman who was quite homophobic. I hadn't told her I was gay as I felt too nervous. I had a friend called Liam (ive changed his name) who also was gay and it was a platonic friendship (he often said how ugly I was and he always used to put me down and I only bothered with him as I was so lonely at university).Anyway once i arranged for the French lady to meet up with us for a drink . i hadn't told her that Liam was gay either and we said we would all go for a drink in the gay village. We sat for ages and the French woman didn't know that either of us were gay and as s joke I had told her that Liam was always having a different girlfriend every few months - when it was really that he was very promiscuous with men ! We were talking and Liam had to change the gender of the men to make them sound like women! On one occasion on Valentines Night in 1996 me and the French woman. went to cinema to see a film and an old man saw us and remarked "Go in there with her and come out a man!" If only he had known I was gay and we were only going as friends. (Although she was homophobic and we didn't have much of a friendship and I felt totally unhappy in her company yet I didn't know how to say I didn't really want to see her as a friend anymore).
Any advice that I would like to give other people on the spectrum is that you have to use all your strengths in order to cope with the difficult times in life. Being yourself is very important and try to reach out as much as you need to for support.
Signs that I saw in myself that I had autism were many.Being unable to tolerate dismal pop music in the background and loud music too; having no understanding of sport rules and being very slow at understanding things and being unable to follow a conversation sometimes, just visualising words in mid air and not seeing the meaning very often; reading a sentence involves me having to visualise what picture each word stands for and its like torture trying to remember the plot of a story as I have to keep re reading the same sentences over and over again. Reading is often hellish and o often don't finish a book as I have very short attention span and terrible short term memory.I cannot understand plays at all or murder mysteries or a lot of comedies. I take things literally, I don't understand terms like
"Real estate or "Tender" or expressions such as "And then some," "you got this," and "the taxpayer","you think world owes you a living," "get away from the rat race," "and then some," "that is all," "Get behind me Satan!" "When it comes to the crunch" ,"life's too short," "you're a long time dead," "chip off the old block," "chip on his shoulder," "ha e your cake and eat it." These expressions baffle me and I cannot work them out and it causes me rages and frustrations. I cannot cope with the slightest change to routine and I don't like bring hugged. I can't make friends and am very very anxious in social situations, I find d human beings unpredictable and very very strange and just cannot seem to get on with different people.
When I got my diagnosis I felt like it was expected that I had autism as I had been advised I had aspergers as early as 2001 although that psychologist didn't send me for a diagnosis. I felt very sad and yet relieved as well when I got my diagnosis,felt like crying in a way but also I was glad I had got a diagnosis.
I don't feel much differently now about my diagnosis compared to how I felt when I got it. I still feeling terrified of the future, feel that will be left alone with no support and no family to help me out. I feel very jealous of people who have everything I ever wanted out of life: assured housing, a dog or cat, a partner, a job, holidays, friends, someone to drive me around, good health, prospects, fun, things to look forward to. Every single one of these things are it have been or will probably be denied to me and it hurts me very much. I did work hard at school and ended up with none of these things whereas I know loads of people who did no work at school and they e got all these things and have been given second chances at college whereas its too late for me in lots of ways and it really upsets me very very much. I feel terrified of diseases and homelessness in the future and I have hospital phobia and am frightened of being denied care. Im sorry to sound so negative but I feel so bitter about this world and fear so much for its future in every way, economically and politically and climate change and the dangerous ideologies and nuclear weapons and it leaves me very depressed a lot of the time.
Not having a diagnosis until I was 42 meant that all my life I'd never understood what was really wrong with me and why I was so different to other people. I never understood why I was picked on all the way through school and why I could never understand sports or rules of games like Monopoly and why I always lost at draughts and couldn't understand dominoes or card games or why everyone used to laugh at me for not being able to play snooker or why I did not like wearing trendy clothes whereas everyone else wore trendy clothes with so much ease.I didn't understand why people could read body language and facial expressions whereas I cant'. I was told i may have aspergers in 2001 so I knew when I was 26 really that I probably had this syndrome, so it didn't come as too much of a shock when it was official two years ago.
The obstacles I've faced in life are things like difficulty in finding work and great difficulty being able to cope at work and enormous problems getting on with and trying to understand other people. Coping with being gay and never being able to find a partner, coping with loneliness and rejection by peers and some other people who don't understand and never even cared to understand what my problems were. Having to constantly deal with depression and anxiety, obsessive thoughts and having to constantly try to control anger so that it doesnt erupt into rage and worrying constantly about what the future will be and how I will survive and what food will be available and what services there may be in the future for autistic people. All these things really worry me all the time. I have this difficult condition that makes a hard life even more difficult to cope with a lot of the time.