My Monthly Rant (sorry guys!)

‘Do you not know I am a woman? When I think, I must speak.’ In this case about periods or menstrual cycles as they are also known. Periods are something all women experience (bar medical reasons) and when mine started I knew this. However this did not help me to feel any better about them. I know most girls find periods a bit scary or worrying at fist and take time to adjust to them, but I totally hated them. I became afraid of my periods. As someone with OCD the messiness of them did my head in. I struggled with sanitary pads since I always had issues with certain things against my skin, which is an autistic trait I had much more when younger. I briefly tried tampons, but with my bad hip struggled to use them. Then there were the stomach cramps which at times had me doubled over in pain crying. Puberty and hormones are all part of being a teenager, but add in autism and OCD and you get one very messed up person. I hated how periods made me feel mentally each month. In the end the anxiety got so bad my mum took me to see the doctor.

The doctor put me on ‘the pill’ which was life changing. I had more control over when I had a period, so could time it for when I had less stressful things going on. The pill made my periods a bit lighter which made them easier to deal with. My stomach cramps became less frequent and less intense. Gradually I became less afraid of my periods and learnt to cope with them. I am very grateful my mum took me to the doctor and got me on the pill, which I still use to this day.

I got used to sanitary pads in the end. I learned which ones I found most comfortable and worked for my needs. However over the years buying pads has become trickier. They keep coming up with new versions and the choice is now huge. I can spend ages in some shops just staring at the range of pads trying to find the ones I want. I also find a kind I like, and then they change them or stop stocking them. I would rather they kept it simple. I mean who an earth came up with ‘wings’, are my pads supposed to fly?! I think the idea is they are supposed to keep the pad from bunching up so it stays flat, but in my experience they tend to make things worse if anything. Before you even use the wings I find they often stick to themselves. I like the pads without wings, which you can still get, but are becoming increasingly rare. Larger shops tend to still stock then, but smaller shops often do not. Then there are pads with added fragrance, often aloe-Vera, which considering how many women are sensitive in that area seems daft. The fragrance can irritate and make things sore and just how much are other people going to smell a woman’s intimate area anyway? A fairly new one is ‘discreet’ pads. Supposedly rustle free wrapping for use in public toilets (although they don’t seem all that rustle free to me). However as a woman in woman’s toilets I do not mind if I hear other women unwrapping pads, it is hardly unexpected or offensive. Besides I hardly ever notice the noise from other cubicles anyway and it was a non issue for me.

Some sanitary pads seem ludicrously expensive, I will admit I do not use the cheapest brands, they feel plastic like and often do not stick down well, but the mid price range seem fine to me. Although sometimes you have to use what you can get in an emergency. Recently I saw an article online about tax on sanitary wear, often known as ‘the tampon tax’. It is wrong to tax sanitary wear when other items deemed essential are not taxed or at least have reduced tax. Although one woman was quoted as spending at least £10 a month on her sanitary wear which is far more than I have ever paid. I do realise how lucky I am to have cotton soft pads now. My mum told me about sanitary belts which sound very uncomfortable and tedious. They were an elastic belt used to hold pads in place before the invention of self-adhesive pads.

Is it just me or are adverts for sanitary products really daft? I do not do most of the things the women in the adverts do even during the rest of the month when I am not on my period. I have a really good sanitary product now so I can do anything, no, it does not make me super woman. Then there are the adverts trying to sell my pads almost as if they were a fashion product with pretty floral designer pattern on them, err why? I don’t care if you draw floral patterns on the pads or not, what I want to know is do they stick well and do they absorb well?!

I am now fine with my periods mostly. This may sound daft, but I am actually quite proud of myself for overcoming this issue. I am glad I live in a more open time when periods can be discussed more than they used to be and sex education in schools is getting better. I found the talk the school nurse gave us in year seven (aged eleven/ twelve) somewhat helpful. However I do think some girls need more support in learning to cope with periods, especially special needs girls with learning difficulties or anxiety related conditions or autism. Girls need help with the emotional side of periods as well as the practical physical side. I am very glad my mum never hid periods from me and I always knew they were something to expect. It must be terrifying to get one without knowing what it is, which I gather used to happen more than it does now.

Before anyone male complains I know boys also have puberty and hormonal issues, especially as teenagers, but not being male I have nothing I can say on this, other than I think they also need good sex education in school and probably more emotional support than they often get.

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Lyrical

When I am struggling with emotions and feelings writing helps me sometimes.  I find writing lyrics can be helpful, especially when confused or heartbroken or sad.  It can help me to get my anger or sadness out in a safe way.   It helps me to explore my feelings towards someone or something.  I cannot go and yell at the guy in person in a lot of cases, so this helps.

I enjoy writing in various song styles and genres.  A lot of the time my songs end up coming out in ‘Goth emo’ style, but not always.  I am a huge The Rasmus fan, which is what a lot of my songs end up being a bit like, but some also turn out more like Train or other things.  I wish I could write music and put the tunes down on paper, although I do not actually think the tunes I have in my head are very good most of the time anyway.  Someone else can write the tunes one day if they wish.

I write lyrics for myself about very personal things, they are not written to be taken seriously as hit songs; they are just to help me.  I thought I would share a few of my songs though just to help explain myself a bit better to people and also I love to share what I have been writing whatever type of thing it is.

A lot of my songs are about love and relationships, like most songs seem to be.  These next ones are about my last long term relationship ending.

Silence of the Ghost

You don’t have a master plan

If you wake up tomorrow

You think you’ve won the game

You don’t see a future

You’re living day to day

 

I need something solid

That I can build upon

But you have no foundation

You’re crumbling to the ground

‘Cause you’re afraid of life

 

(Chorus)

So now you’ve gone and ghosted me

And just left me with memories

What am I supposed to do?

I have no way to get through to you

 

You don’t even know

What you’ve left behind

Do you know how much you hurt me?

Do you even care?

Or are you lost inside your mind?

 

(Bridge)

You’re a ghost and you haunt me

Bet you think you set me free

But you’re a ghost and you haunt me

(Chorus)

That’s what scares me most

It’s the silence of the ghost

It’s the silence of the ghost

 

Dreams/ Reality

There’s a difference between dreams and reality

But you don’t see

See the bigger picture

See the picture of me

Standing right before you

But you don’t see

 

I’m not what you need

You need someone who is ripped at the seams

Someone who has no dreams

But baby that’s not me

I want to have a life

Maybe be someone’s wife

 

There’s a difference between dreams and reality

This is something I’m learning

But I refuse to give up on my dreams

So I’m giving up on you

Then maybe I will see a new reality

 

Thief

You said all the things that I wanted to here

That I’m loved and you’ll keep me near

Was it truth, was it lies?

Was it part of your plan?

As you committed your crime

 

(Chorus)

You became a thief of the night

You stole my life

My heart, my soul are in your possession now

When you walked away

You took everything I need

I am no longer me

 

I can’t ask for them back

Since you went on the run

I can’t ask for the truth

You’re in hiding now

Since you committed your crime

(Chorus)

(Bridge)

 

I would say let the punishment fit the crime

But I think you’re already broken inside

Just like you did to me

Now I’m broken too

Since you committed your crime

(Chorus)

 

This next song is about when you are finally starting to move on from a painful break up.  It is much more hard rock than the other and the words in capitals are supposed to be almost shouted.

Break Down

I came back today

Back from time away

But it weren’t no holiday

It was a mental break

DOWN!

 

Although I never left my own bed

I wasn’t there inside my head

I was going out my mind

Thoughts were dragging me

DOWN!

 

I have no one to blame

I drive myself insane

Living inside the pain

The pain that come from having known

YOU!

 

Today I finally felt OK

I woke up and got out of bed

Decided to get out of my head

Now I’m living just for me

FUCK YOU!

 

This song has parts about several men I have met along the way, but is mostly about one specific person.

 

Over You

You told me you needed someone

But after you had your fun

You said you’re too broken inside

To take any-more

Well I’ve been broken since the day I was born

I’m totally twisted and torn

But that don’t mean I want to be alone

So don’t you dare use that excuse

 

Why can’t you just tell me the truth?

(Chorus)

 

I know I’m supposed to hate you

But you know I don’t

If I did it would make it easier

For me to move on

But I’m not ready to be over you

Not over you quite yet

 

I think I knew from the start

But I’m slightly insane

So I played along with your game

Hoping to make it real

 

It still hit me like a hammer when you left

I should have seen it coming

But it’s hard when you want it so bad

Now I feel like the guilty one

But that really should be you

(Chorus)

 

There’s a deep emotion I get when I think of you

I both hate it and love it

But I’m not ready to be over you

Not over you quite yet

(Chorus)

 

This song has nothing to do with love and is about my mental health, partly my OCD.

 

My Darkest Sin

There’s a darkness surrounds me

It comes from within

I try to fight it

But I have to give in

So I end up committing my darkest sin

 

(Chorus)

Sin, sin, sin, what do I win

When I commit my darkest sin

I win silence from the voices inside my head

I win back the silence of the night

The silence of the night

 

There’s a confusion surrounds me

I don’t know what is right

I try to be part of this world

But it’s always a battle

Against my own sin

 

(Chorus)

(Bridge)

I am only human

I will often fail

I can’t live up to what is always expected from me

 

There’s a darkness surrounds me

It’s dragging me down

(chorus)

 

This song was written when I was feeling very low and lonely.

The Lie

You gotta’ try, try, try everyday

Even though you want to die, die, die in so many ways

You got to pretend that you are OK

Don’t let them see your vulnerability

Or they’ll take advantage one of these days

 

(Chorus)

I feel numb, numb, numb, nothing inside

There’s a void inside where the love should be

I try to fill it, but it feels an impossibility

I can’t seem to find what I need

I come close, but it’s not meant to be

 

You gotta’ lie, lie, lie everyday

That you don’t wanna cry, cry, cry is so many ways

You make out you cope on your own

There’s no way they’d understand at all

 

(Chorus) 

(Bridge)

You ask yourself why, why, why it happened again

You gave it your all, but it wasn’t enough

Still you must try, try, try

 

(Chorus)

 

If others can fake it so can you

But for how long can this go on?

 

 

This last song is about trying to fit in and being true to myself.

Being Me

I have tried everyday

I have tried to be regular, normal

Gave it my best, gave it my all

But eventually I had to fall

They all rejected me

 

(Chorus)

I can’t be something I’m not

So I’m going to give it a shot

At being who I truly am

Without no massive plan

I am being me

 

I have finally found

What I want to be

But I think I left it too late

I’m way past the starting gate

They just locked all the doors to my youth

 

(Chorus)

 

I refuse to give in

I will finally win

I will find a way

To make tomorrow my day

I don’t care what they say

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some things I hate

I Hate…

frownie-emoji

OCD, on certain days it really controls me and seems to take over. My worst traits at the moment are often to do with my hair having to be perfectly neat and my bedtime routine. On days when I am really struggling with my OCD I can be afraid to go to bed. OCD nags at me and gets exhausting at times. I am glad not all days are as bad as others.

Being autistic at a confusing level. Being Asperger or high functioning level means that I am more than aware I am autistic, but still seem to have very little control over it, so I just know I mess up a lot. Being aware of my faults, but unable to do much about them is very frustrating.

When I clearly have said something wrong and upset someone, but am not quite sure what I said that was wrong. Knowing me I spoke my mind too freely, said too much or I have been told I can come across as somewhat self centred, but I never mean to. Then if you ask someone what you did wrong not knowing sometimes makes you appear even more self centred.

My anxiety issues with people I care about. I worry too much if they are happy or content when with me and sometimes ask if they are OK too many times, till they get annoyed with me. When alone I can annoy myself by worrying if they miss me as much as I miss them or is it a relief for them to have a break from me? I am often unsure of the right balance between giving someone space and showing I care.

My mind in one of its frequent over thinking states when I am alone. I end up getting emotional or anxious, over dramatising things in my head. I can work myself up into a sad or angry state.

How tired I feel a lot of the time. Day time naps no longer seem to help as much as they used to. Often I feel drained or lethargic. Is it my OCD and anxiety that cause it?

People who say things like ‘you’ve done so well considering’ or ‘you’re so brave’ or give you that look as if to say ‘ah bless the special needs person’. I know they mean well, but it is patronising. How do they know that actually for me I am having a bad day and on a good day I can actually pass them by unnoticed and do not come across as special needs at all.

How messed up my posture is from my hip issue. Years of limping and using walking aids such as crutches have left me with shoulder, neck and back problems. They can really hurt at times. My spine now has a slight curve and I am often rounded at the shoulders. On bad days it can cause me to walk somewhat wrong and give me pain in my feet. I hate knowing that as I age this might get worse and I could be one of those bent over old people you see that can hardly stand upright. I do exercises most days that were given to me by physiotherapy, they do not take long and do help somewhat with the pain, but they will never cure it and are tedious to do when I am not in the right mood.

People who say getting a job is easy if I really wanted one. They do not know how hard I tried to get paying work. They should try it with autism, mental health issues, benefit money issues and living in a small seaside town.

Depression days that are so crippling now and then I can not even dress and leave my flat. These are the days when my mental health issues win. I let people down, spend too much time alone and then end up annoyed with myself. I am too low to fully function and my OCD too bad to dress fully.

I am not saying things are always this bad, but during bad phases these are the things that get me down. I think writing them down and sharing them with others helps me feel less anxious about them somewhat.

Drinking and Why I Went Back to the Booze (or What I Learned in Nine Months Sober)

I admit it, I caved, and I drank alcohol again. Not vast amounts, enough to be tipsy, but not wreaked. In total I drank two pints of cider over several hours in four half pints. I was at the local pub and too distracted by the karaoke and chatting to drink any faster. I also find I drink less if I have halves as I do not drink so much at once and do not want to keep going up to the bar too often.

I decided after nine months of sobriety that I could drink again without it being a problem. I have never actually been a problem drinker. One of the main reasons I drank that night was due to anger and a ‘who the heck even cares any more’ attitude. Finding myself newly single and having had a birthday that week I thought, here I am at thirty-two single again, being good has got me nowhere so stuff it. I partly gave up drinking to help my ex when he was really struggling with drink problems and seeing what alcohol could do to him scared me. However seeing as he left me I was feeling pretty annoyed at the whole no alcohol thing. ( Although he was not the only reason I quit drinking.)

Actually when I was with him I found giving up alcohol pretty easy. I was happy and did not need it for a good time. He managed at least eight months sober and together we were getting our lives sorted. However on my own alcohol became tempting again. I know being left by someone and being angry and upset is a stupid reason to drink, but frankly at the time I did not care and I know I can handle drink better than some people anyway.  I think this song by Train sums up why I drank that night rather well

However I am very glad I did spend nine months totally alcohol free. I was starting to drink more than I should have and looking back did need to take a break from it. I also got to see how it looks when you are sober around drunk people. No one very drunk looks good to a sober person, no matter what you think the alcohol does to you, it is not helping you become more attractive or better at things trust me on this. Drinking heavily on a very regular basis can make you a tedious person to spend time with. Far from enhancing your personality it makes you overly emotional and dumb. Drunk people tend to say stupid things and end up in situations that I can see could easily have been avoided if they had drunk less that night. I found some occasions actually more enjoyable sober. My cousin’s wedding for example, was easier being fully sober with all my wits about me to deal with so many people at once. I found I saved money sober as well as I had better judgement on what I was spending at the bar. Coming home from a night out with change from a £20 is quite nice.

I have decided that alcohol is fine in moderation and not too often. I will drink again, but not every time I go out, just occasionally when I feel I am able to handle it. I also plan to not drink too much at once. You do not have to drink heavily to get a nice buzz from alcohol and the hangover is not so bad in the morning this way. If you need at least six pints to have a good time maybe you have a problem or at least could do with a break from alcohol for a while. In fact everyone could do with a break from alcohol now and then, maybe not nine months like me, but a month or two so you can see things from a sober prospective.

Some people like my ex can not do moderation and in those cases should remain totally alcohol free. For them one drink will never be just one drink. I however am lucky and can do moderate drinking, so why not? I never did get much pleasure from being very heavily drunk. I also plan to keep my flat an alcohol free zone. Living alone, solo drinking is the worst kind of drinking, it tends to be depressed drinking. Alcohol is best when with other people enjoyed sensibly in moderation.

 

Scams, Cold Calls and Junk

Almost as soon as I moved into my flat the cold calls started. I had to register with energy suppliers, which is when the calls about getting a smart meter began. Mostly I get phone calls about it, but I have had the occasional sales person call at my door. My previous energy supplier nearly managed to get me signed up to a smart meter, but before they came to fit it I made sure I read the booklet they sent me about it. I am glad I did, turns out on a prepay meter a smart meter is actually worse value for me than not having one. I would have had to change to a different tariff that would cost me more per unit, so I cancelled it. I also could not see much point in a smart meter when already being on a prepay meter. I can see how much gas and electricity I am spending when my meter goes down. I know myself what appliances I have switched on, so know what is using up my credit. Maybe smart meters are good for people who use billing, but not in my case.

Another energy supplier nearly got me to switch to them. I had already worked out the best deal for me and switched companies only a month earlier. I made the stupid mistake of letting a cold caller into my flat. He somehow got me to sign something which I feel rather stupid for having done so now. I realised almost as soon as I had done it that it was probably a mistake, so decided to do some online research about the company. They were not cheaper than my current company despite his claims as I was not on the average tariff, but on a much lower deal one. The company had very bad reviews for customer service. People complained of relentless cold callers who would not go away till they signed up. I tried to cancel my sign up, but they took so long to answer the phone sometimes I gave up and even when I did get through they kept failing to put me through to the right department. In the end my current company sorted it out for me, but even they struggled to get the company to cancel. I am glad I am aware of my right to cancel an energy switch over within fourteen days of signing up. I am also glad I am able to do my own online research, as I know some people are unable to do this. I had only been in my flat a few months at the time and it is the first time I have lived totally alone with my name on the energy supplier’s information. Anyone who moves into their first home alone is vulnerable as they have no experience in dealing with this kind of thing. Now I have a no cold callers sign on my door, say no thanks to them and shut the door on them.

Another group who regularly cold call people both on the phone and at the door are charities. They never get anywhere with me as they are asking directly for money which is not something I feel able to give a lot of, and I already give to charity in the form of time by volunteering. The elderly seem the most vulnerable to this kind of cold call. A recent consumer programme on the radio reported of people finding their elderly relatives bank accounts linked up by direct debits to lots of charities without the older person being aware of just how much money they were giving each month. Often these people are easily confused or suffering some kind of dementia and can not work out the long term costs or remember how many charities they have already signed up with. Charity giving is a good thing if you can afford it, but some of these people are struggling financially. A lot of charity cold callers work on commission and get a bonus for singing people up, and some have to sign up a certain number each day to even get paid at all. I do not always blame the cold caller, but the system they work under, the payment set up is geared so that vulnerable people are going to be targeted.

Then there is the fake or scam cold call. There is the now quite well known Microsoft computer scam who claim to be Microsoft themselves calling you and that they noticed a fault with your computer. They say they can fix your viruses or hacked computer over the phone if you follow the instructions they give you. However what they actually want is your bank details to pay for the so called service. Some of the scammers actually go so far as to get you to download a programme that lets them remotely control your computer and if you fail to comply with the instructions they start to delete your files! I know that a company such as Microsoft do not even do computer repairs on individual computers. They rang me once whilst I was at home and I had the enjoyment of telling them truthfully I have no internet in my flat and my laptop was switched off as it lives at my parents house (since they do have internet that is where it is most useful to keep it). The elderly are at risk from this scam sometimes as they often understand computers less well.

This article makes interesting reading on the scam, http://www.wired.co.uk/article/malwarebytes

There are various scam calls out there and a good rule of thumb is to never give bank details to anyone who rings you up.

Text messages are also used to try and get people to sign up to things. I have had texts from British Gas about smart meters, texts about phone deals when I was with EE and about online game deals. It is easy to delete a spam text, but disappointing when a text turns out to be spam since I do not get many texts.

Junk mail, the old fashioned way to try and part a fool and his money. However most of the junk I get is not even relevant to me. I do not own my flat so do not need building insurance, can not sell it and am not responsible for my drains (no matter how many times South West Water tell me that any drains on my property are my responsibility). Almost all my junk mail goes straight in the recycling sack. Some people in rented accommodation may sign up for some of the services on offer without realising their landlord is responsible for them, not them.

The internet is a whole other minefield of junk email, scams and banner adverts trying to sell you stuff. If you have a vulnerable family member who uses social media add them as your ‘friend’ so you can keep an eye on who they talk to and what things they are signing up to.

The learning and mentally disabled can be vulnerable to cold calls if they live alone without much. support. They can end up signing up for all kinds of things. Some are lonely and welcome any kind of human contact so let themselves be engaged into conversation with these people. Giving people more support when setting up a new home could help, teaching them how to get good energy deals and to ignore cold callers.

I gather the law is changing to make cold calls without prior consent illegal. However not from abroad, so I expect a lot of companies will just move their call centres. Also I am willing to bet that if it is a call from your own energy supplier or a company you already hired then it will count as prior consent as you already hire a service from them, even if they are trying to sell you something additional. Also what is going to count as prior consent, if it ticking or unticking boxes online when filling in forms, a lot of people are still going to get cold calls.

I think we can all be more careful what we agree to and sign up for. Also I think we should help the vulnerable in society more learn to deal with cold calls, scams and junk mail.

'You sound familiar. Haven't I swindled you once before?'

OCD and how it is not funny if you really have it

OCD, I know I have talked about this before in other posts, but it recently became clear that I need to discuss it again and this time from another angle.

Yet another post about OCD on Facebook came up the other week.  ‘These three targets all look the same to people without OCD, click the link to find out how OCD you are’, or something along those lines.  I have OCD and the targets still looked all the same to me.  I commented on my friends post that this was the case and that I thought posts along these lines stereotype and trivialise my condition.  Another friend accused me of trying to start an argument when it was only a game.

I have seen too many posts along these lines about OCD being a perfectionist neat freak thing that can be judged by silly games.  I see memes and jokes posted around social media quite often that are starting to make it seem like OCD is some kind of joke condition.

OCD is now used as a phrase to describe neatness or fussiness. People often say ‘oh I am a little bit OCD’ but, as Connor Heapy wrote in the Independent newspaper ‘Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a debilitating condition characterized by unwanted intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviors or mental acts. Although OCD is often associated with cleanliness and orderliness, it can manifest in a variety of ways. Some spend hours each day worrying about whether they have committed a paedophilic act while others are plagued by the thought that they may have caught HIV from their toothbrush, towel or phone’.  For me during a bad phase OCD can be a disability, stopping me from living my life a fully as I would like.

It is exhausting both mental and physically.  I get up and down over and over to get comfy sometimes and fiddle with my clothing or cushions or hair till I feel things are ‘just right’.  I have to listen to my own head nag me all day on my worst days.  I have had full on arguments with family members over OCD issues, and even argued with myself and the world around me at times.  I have been known to yell at inanimate objects at times.  It just spills out and I cannot help it.  You can learn to manage OCD up to a point, but it never fully goes away.  There is no full rest-bite from it.

For me OCD is about a feeling.  Getting things ‘just right’ does not always mean things have to be perfectly symmetrical or straight, sometimes I do not mind mess, but in my flat it is an organised mess.  My OCD also gets mixed up with my autism, so it is complicated.  OCD is not as simplistic as a lot of these social media posts make out.  My own head is full of mess so I like to be able to order and control the mess outside my head.

I never post jokes, memes or silly games on disabilities online and I ask other people to do the same.  Please respect my right not to have my disability made into a joke.  I can be a fun person and enjoy a laugh, but not at the expense of those already suffering.

downloadGawd, well I cannot tell any difference and I have OCD.

i-have-cdo  A very common meme I keep seeing

Communication

I communicate a lot with my family and friends electronically using text messages, social media and email. I know a lot of people communicate this way now, but it has been brought to my attention that I may do this more than most people my age. This post looks at why I like to use electronic communication so much.

hands-holding-mobile-devices-human-set-phones-electronic-communication-concept-vector-illustration-41976985

Practicality

My relatives live spread out across the country in many different counties. I also have friends that live a long way from me that I met at university. I find the internet a fantastic way to stay in touch with people at a distance. I send letters and cards by post, more than a lot of people do these days, but post takes time and often I want a much quicker response. Also the cost of postal services seems to be getting more and more expensive.

Staying in Touch

I would of lost contact with a lot of people if it was not for Facebook. This includes friends from university, people I met at various events and distant relatives. I have never had many friends and would like to keep the ones I have got. I also managed to get back in touch with a few friends from school that I had previously not spoken with in many years.

Generational

From about my age group and below it just seems to be the natural way people communicate. Although some do so less than others, it is common to use Facebook messenger to stay in touch with friends and even family. Text messaging seems to be becoming normal for people of all age groups now including my parents generation. I am a little bit too old to have had a mobile phone or the internet as a small child, but since I was about fourteen I have regularly used the internet to chat with friends. I got my first mobile phone when I was about sixteen when I decided it would be practical since I was at college and that is what everyone else was using. A lot of my university friends are three or four years younger than me and some of them seem to use electronic communications as much as I do. They grew up with it from a younger age so it is what they are used to. At university I actually would have missed out on things if I was not on Facebook. We would invite each other to parties and nights out using Facebook as it was a great way to invite a lot of people at once. We would use Facebook messenger to group chat as it was very handy for us as drama students to share ideas or work out rehearsal times for our practicals.

Autism Friendly

My autism sometimes makes face to face chat harder for me than it might be for some people. I struggle with eye contact; even my diagnostic report says that I do. When I talk I tend to get carried away and say too much or the wrong thing. When I have to write down what I want to say first either online or in a text message it means I can look back at it and have time to think about what I am saying. It means I am less likely to say the wrong thing and can cut out the waffle, get to the point better. It is common for autistic people to use the internet to chat; it has less social skills to learn, although there are some social rules and I by no means always get them right online. I do enjoy face to face chat, but it can be more tiring for me sometimes and often requires more effort, although this depends who I am talking to and on the situation. Face to face people use non-verbal communication such as body language which can be tricky for autistics to pick up on. There is less hidden meaning in written text chat. I feel like I am more in control with this way of chatting. I do not have to talk to someone when I am not in the mood. If I am having a bad day mentally I can chose to ignore a text message or email and deal with it later when I am more able to. This way I do not upset people and take my bad moods out on them. I do use the phone, but have never been totally comfortable with it. Once I start chatting on the phone I often relax and am fine, but the initial thought of it sometimes makes me anxious. So text messaging is often easier for me. (Although I am getting better with making phone calls and do makes calls when I need to.) Another thing I like about written communication is the more definite response rather than ‘hmm’ or a nod of the head that I can often misunderstand. Even an OK or emoticon is at least a response that shows they took on board what I was saying. I find there is less pressure and less hassle with this way of communicating.

Can Just Say It

I like how I can say what I need to whilst I think of it with electronic communication. If I am not sure if someone is free to chat at the time I can still text or email for them to read later before I forget what I was going to say. Plus sometimes I have to say stuff as I get anxious if I do not. I worry if I do not say certain things as soon as I can to people. I do not mind if people read it later as long as I know it is out there.

Writing is my Skill

Writing is something I am quite good at and I feel confident at it. When talking in person it sometimes gets misunderstood. When I write I seem better at putting at my point across.

How Others Want to Communicate

It often seems to be how others want to communicate with me. Maybe they find it easier as I can bore people with my over talking in person. Also I have no land line phone and calling a mobile phone can be costly so maybe texting or emailing is just cheaper for people. I have relatives who email me rather than phone. I think this could be as they do not know when I am free to talk and do not want to disturb me if busy. I Facebook with some relatives responding to statues and comments as it seems a good way to communicate with each other when we do not actually know each other very well in person. This way I am getting to know them without so much pressure. I text with some family since they are often busy and they do not have time to see me face to face or phone very often.

This way of communicating does come with its own problems. When I do not want to talk I can chose not to, but in turn others can do the same to me. If people ignore me for short periods I am fine, but if it goes on for long periods it can worry me. The trouble is these days people are often expected to be instantly available 24 hours a day when it is not always possible. Another problem is of course when technology lets us down. What with lack of phone signal or devices breaking down or running out of charge sometimes old fashioned post or face to face is just easier.

I do not mind which way people choose to communicate with me, be it face to face or electronically. It is just nice when people want to chat with me.