I decided that I wanted to put a face to the words I have been saying so here is my words brought to life:
So this week has been National Inclusion Week and one of the main things that I have learned from this week is that we need to start empowering people to talk about their disabilities, their differences as well as things that make them unique. More needs to be done to support those both inside and outside the workplace who have a story to tell but are too scared that they will be judged.
When I was first diagnosed as Autistic I wondered how on earth I would describe it to people at work. For me it made me understand some of my behaviors from my childhood however as an adult I wondered how people would take it. Luckily I had a wonderful line manager who listened and helped me out with my understand what I was going through.
Through telling my line manager I was able to identify some of the things like my issues with volume control in my voice. Every time I am anxious I was able to speak to my line manager. Through her support, when I joined a new team, I felt confident telling them I was diagnosed as Autistic. The main thing I tell them is that if you notice something to please tell me. If I am told constructively I am able to take it however if someone has a go at me when I struggle.
With the autism, I have come to understand some of my strange behaviors. An example is that I have gotten hooked on “A Discovery of Witches” to the point where I have watched the first 3 episodes again and again and am desperate for next week to come so I can watch all 4 episodes. Before people would tell me I am strange and odd for it but I have come to understand that there are things that I love, for instance, mystical folklore, crime, and cartoons. This is just something which is my specialty areas. Because of the Autism, I tend to fixate on them which is good to know. This is helping me learn more about me and helping me to grow. I am still working out how it all works with me and I am trying very hard to grow into a more confident me but honestly, it is a challenge.
As a dyslexic, I always knew I was struggling with school. I was often told that there was no problem with me, it was just that I was not applying myself. It knocked my confidence in everything and I honestly did not even believe I would get A-levels. It took one school to really take an interest which helps. One teacher I had in particular who helped me out was Mr. Phillips. He would go through my bad homework and give me the chance to redo them. He would not change my grade but it helped me get the work up to standard. Because of him, during my A-levels, I was able to get a B in sociology. This was a very big accomplishment for me as it is a pure essay writing qualification. Mr. Phillips helped me out so much. I honestly wish I knew where he was now so that I could thank him.
Depression is a hard one for me especially as I live with it every day. It is hard to put into words but there are just days that I do not even want to get out of bed. I want to hide under my duvet and let the world pass me by. The problem is is that I know how bad I used to get when I was first diagnosed. I took a penknife to my hand. I do not ever want to get to that state again. I try and be open about it, however, it can be hard as you wonder how people will react when you do. I know that there are people out there who will treat you like glass and they will amend the way they interact with you which is not very good. For me when people are around me being themselves it is when I almost feel alright.
Now honestly, being 32 with spinal problems is a terrible thing. It honestly makes me think I did something bad in a past life but honestly, I am hoping that I will be able to get myself to a stage when I feel confident about it. I just hope that it would do a lot better sooner rather than later so that when I am older I won’t have extra problems.
Yet, with all I have to deal with, I do my best to get the most out of every day. I try and live my life in a way that when I look back at it I can be proud of everything that I have done. There is still so much that I want to do with my life and hope, of all hope, that I will get it done.
Dementia is a vile, evil ilness which is known as the Long Goodbye. It is something that takes you away piece by piece until there is nothing left except a shell waiting to die.
My father also has dementia.
Over the last few years, I have seen this vile illness strip away pieces of my dad. He went from being an unhealthy person who went out, met people and enjoyed music to someone who it is a struggle to even get out of bed in the morning. A huge turning point for us was when he lost his drivers license. That was a lifeline for him and it was taken away.
It’s not all doom and gloom though. Last night I got to see my dad do something I hadn’t seen him do in years. That is, pick up a guitar. Now you may think that this is something minor however, my dad is a musical man. He could have gone all the way. The man could recite songs on his guitar without music or anything else. He was a musical genius. But with the illness, he doesn’t play anymore. So to see him pick up a guitar honestly I felt like crying tears of joy. The glee in his eyes and the joy in my hear made me want to cry my eyes out. I did manage to hold it in till I was not with him but honestly cried like a baby.
So enjoy the time you have with the loved ones you have because honestly this illness can break your heart x
For me, this worked wonders. I found that if I was able to make light of the situation I found myself regarding my mental health then people around me would feel a lot easier about talking to me about it.
My way is not the best way may be to take the stigma out of Mental Health but for me, it works. I have always been known as somewhat of a fruitloop doing things because I wanted to do them, even if it was not what was expected of me. Take my Thank You Campaign, I do it because I want all people who serve in some form of uniform to know that there is at least one person out there who supports them. This is not seen as the norm but I don’t care, it makes me feel good and therefore I do it…
Each person’s mental health issues are unique to them to find a way that is suitable for you to broach that subject.
This morning I would like to take a moment to talk about mental health and how it can affect many people.
Since 2007 I have been dealing with depression. It is caused by the brain either refusing to or seriously reducing the amount of serotonin it produces. Basically, this means a chemical imbalance in the brain.
Since my diagnosis, I have noticed that the stigma around mental health is rampant. People feel too afraid to tell people they have mental health problems for fear of what might happen. I have experienced myself the downside to disclosing mental health problems to employers who went from treating me like everyone else to treating me like a piece of glass that could break at any moment.
Until such time as it becomes more acceptable to have mental health problems, the stigma will continue. One way for this to happen is for more people to take the stance of “so what, I have mental health issues, who cares” and be as open as they can be. The more people who stand up and openly say they have issues will make the world see that we are not a minority and that it does not discriminate.
A baby step that people can take, put it in your bio on social media. This is something that means that everyone will see without you having to say to each person