suzefricker@mylifeaccordingtome.org Available all the time, just send me an email and I will get back to you.

Pandemic goes on

I haven’t posted in a while and that is because I have been struggling during this COVID-19 Pandemic. I am living alone and I have to keep myself going.

</

Because I am classed as vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus but not clinically vulnerable I have to be very careful with what I do outside the flat. I am able to social distance however, I am unable to force people to social distance so it puts me at risk. I have to avoid key places such as the pharmacy because it is in the shopping center. It also means that I have to have online food orders because I have to avoid going into stores.

I finally got into a routine so that I get some time out of the flat but not as much as I would like. Tuesday’s and Friday’s I check the post. This goes up if I have a parcel as the postman is not allowed to come inside the building. Tuesday’s I also take my rubbish out for collection. If I have letters to post then I take them to the letter box on Tuesday’s as well. It is maybe 5 minutes each way.

The solitude is something that is driving me a bit crazy. I am able to keep going but the negatives are seeping in. Because I am in the flat all the time bills have gone up. I am also struggling to get exercise :(. I am also facing a birthday on my own. No family, no friends and it makes me sad. Some times, I worry about what the sight of the UK will be like post COVID.

Another thing that is getting to me is I want to help. I want to be one of those people who help people in need but because I am vulnerable I have to take care of myself first. This is taking a tole on me but, it is something that is making me focus on my needs. I spend so much time looking after other people I forget about myself. As you can imagine this means I get sick a lot. Being forced to look after myself is a good thing, I think.

What really bugs me is watching the selfish people who are not taking this pandemic seriously. Our Prime Minister eased the restrictions but then I started seeing groups of people congregating. It is not something that I feel good about. These selfish people are the reasons why people like me have to actually stay inside more then we really should have to and honestly it is frustrating.

The positive things I have found is the work that I have been doing with Soldiers Angels. Letters and emails I send to American Service Members have helped keeping me going. I am also storing my food that I cant eat and donating it to the local NHS Hospital. I like helping the Heros who are fighting this horrible illness. I just hope that a second wave is not triggered by the idiots.

I am praying for a vacine to be found soon so that I will be able to see my dad again who is classed as extremely vulnerable. I want to be able to goto my office and see my friends in the coffee shop. I miss Hugs and being able to talk to people without a screen involved. As far as I am concerned though that I am doing what I can to help keep the pandemic down.

Everyone, please stay safe out there and honestly take care of your wellbeing. Stay safe, stay sane and keep up the good work.

Autism & PTSD

Today I am posting about something that I am finding a little hard to speak about but, I find that blogging helps me to get things straight in my head and I know I can’t be the only person who is going through this as well.

From a previous post you will know that my mother and I helped out on 14/06/2017 when the Grenfell Tower fire happened and for years following I hid what I was going through from even myself. Until I basically exploded last year and I realised I could not go on ignoring it any more. I have now been diagnosed with PTSD from the fire and am starting a long journey to deal with this.

As I have started bringing the symptoms into the foreground I have found that I am noticing things more. I think I always noticed them but, my subconscious held onto it so I was less aware.

This has lead to an unfortunate incident at work which mortified me. On Thursday I was on the early train to London from where I live. I have done that journey so many times that I didn’t think that there would be a problem. Unfortunately, between two stations there was a large spark. I don’t know if it was large because at the time I was travelling it was still dark outside or whether it was because something had happened but I went into hyper-vigilance mode. Then at the next station someone who smoked got onto the train. I didn’t hear this person get on the train because I had my music on but smelled the smoke that had lingered on her. Hyper vigilance went up once again.

I finally got off of the train and was so anxious that I had to sit down. I finally went onto work and started work there. What I didn’t realise is that I had started the day off at an 8 or a 9 on the over stimulated side of the autism side. I did not make the connection. Because I did not make the connection I was unable to do things to calm myself down and by the end of the day my Deputy Directer pulled me to one side and said, “I think you may be over stimulated”. It finally clicked that that was happening. I realised that I was cranked up to an 11 or 12 for most of the day and I was soo tied. I honestly felt mortified because when it is just a normal over stimulation I am able to take the breaks I need and be OK but, because I had started the day over stimulated due to the PTSD I was blinded to it.

When I got home I agreed to start work after I had seen my therapist on Friday and that is how the link was made and I explained it to my Deputy Director when I logged in.

The next couple of weeks with my therapists we are going to look at coping strategies for me. Things that might help me click that PTSD and Autism are co mingling again and ways to get out of the “nowness” of these symptoms especially whilst I am at work.

What I want to say to all Autistic people out there who are struggling with PTSD too is to not blame yourself when these things happen. You can deal with the symptoms and you can survive. It does not make you weak asking for help and it certainly is not something to be ashamed off. Be strong and know that you are not alone.

Thank you for reading

Grenfell

So, today (Friday) I had a therapy appointment. I finally decided to seek help after struggling to deal with the Grenfell Fire. I got told I have PTSD. I put off asking for help because I felt there were worse off people then me and after the first 6 months my nightmares became intermittent. But after completely freaking out about a possible fire hazard I realised I needed help.

Since the fire I have gotten progressively worse. I used to use wax melts but wont use them anymore incase the candle starts a fire. When I goto public places I am hyper vigilant and if I spot a fire hazard I leave. I can no longer attend BBQs because of the smell. It is forever now associated with the smell of burning people. I need to get back to normality.

PTSD is something that might not hit you straight away but can be devastating. It is not just combat vets who deal with it.

On June 14th 2017 I woke up next to my boyfriend as we always did and I went to shut my window. I asked him “who is BBQing at 5 am?” We made breakfast and I went to check the travel. That’s when I saw what was happening. Something inside me turn off and auto pilot kicked in when I realised it was not BBQ but people dying.

All I know after that is I went to an appointment which cost me £100 to get to and from by cab.

When I came back from the appointment I chatted to the ladies in the estate and realised things were still needed at the volunteer shelters so my mum and I loaded the car up and made our way down by this point it was 2PM. I looked at the tower and I could still see flames. The smell was so bad that even the face mask I had been given did not help. I wanted to cry, scream and be sick all at the same time. Mum and I made the rounds and ended up at my childhood church which was a stones throw from the tower.

The sight I saw was chaotic. You had volunteers and their kids helping out. Survivors who were now displaced sleeping on chairs and kids who survived clinging onto their parent/parents for deal life.

Mum helped with the donations and I helped keep snack table stocked up. The, I went to where people were crying. I swear I was with this woman for 30 minutes but it felt like hours. I prayed with her until she got to see her mother. As I walked away a nurse who dropped everything to help out came and asked me if I was ok and I just broke down in to tears. The children’s faces, the pain and hurt and loss I was witnessing I could not comprehend what was going on. I still can’t. She asked me when was the last time I ate and I realised I hadn’t eaten at all so she got me food. Even though I was protesting saying give it to someone in need she fed me and hugged me.

I knew then because of my own health I had to leave I could not stay there any longer.

Mum and I left after a couple of hours and I was drained.

That’s when the nightmares started and the guilt for not hacking it out longer due to my mental health issues, my physical disabilities and everything else.

I put off getting help for the same reason I tried to get out of food… someone else needs it more than me but I pushed it down so hard it came back with a vengeance.

Please if you were traumatised by the fire, it’s never to late to ask for help.

Thought of the Day

I want to start doing a thought of the day on my blog as I have started putting them on my Facebook and twitter account. I hope that someone will see one and if it makes you smile then my job is done for the day

Today’s thought comes from a video I watched about suicide from the amazing Dhar Mann. I don’t know if he will read this but if you need to see something inspirational look him up on Facebook. The video I watched had a woman with a sign and I believe the sign said hug instead of suicide.

We never know when someone is going through a rough moment in their life or whether they are suicidal usually until it is too late. So if you see someone who looks in pain, whether it is someone you know or someone you don’t know, it never hurts to say “are you okay?”

That kindness could possibly be the only kindness that person has seen for a while and it could make them choose to live instead of die. It may take more effort to not just walk past and ask if their ok but it could be life changing for that person.