Insomnia

It’s odd how you can get used to so little sleep. It’s basically been over a year now, lucky to get 4 hours kip a night. Often less than 2 hours and all too frequently no sleep at all.. What would 6 hours feel like…..

I hate first thing in the morning now. Feeling as if I’m wading through treacle and all without a functioning brain. Still there are some advantages. No need now for Movie Directors to train up actors for creepy zombie roles. Just film me in the morning, straight out of bed. That sight will scare the pants of people. Never has the phrase ‘need your beauty sleep’ been more apt…..

So here’s to another day of yawns, dropping things, crashing into doors and generally scaring the local wildlife half to death. Here’s to INSOMNIA.

Blinded by the light

Blinded by the light.

Ok which version is better Bruce Springsteen or Manfred Mann…..

The home at school project is rapidly feeling like it’s blinded by something. More lessons with no support or materials provided. More time spent trying to find any educational resources hidden on the confusing school system. Far fewer teachers making contact and trying to explain work requirements. When class materials are sent they are often only arriving at the end of lessons or hours late. Hardly any work feedback being sent back. Very few teachers checking in on Hawklad to see if it’s going ok.

Contacting school occasionally improves things for a lesson or two then things fall back again.

With national lockdowns, local school closures and family lockdowns its been over a year since Hawklads last in school classroom day. Maybe school have decided enough is enough. Falling in line with Government thinking. So with an imminent school return looking most unlikely, the educational future is so unclear. Blinded by something……

Blue sky or not blue sky

Sunshine, blue sky, dark cloud, storm clouds, dry, rain, snow, bright, dark.

That Yorkshire sky really sums up perfectly my mood levels since lockdown started. It’s a bit of everything really. Swinging from smiles to tear. Feeling full of the joys of spring to darkest winter coldness. Optimistic then pessimistic. Feeling contented then feeling boxed in. Calm then anxious. At ease with the world then frustrated.

Emotional never ending tides.

Yesterday I was fighting the tears. Life seemed bleak and so restrictive. Definitely feeling cut adrift, isolated and alone.

Yet today I can’t stop smiling. Ok life feels constrained but it also feels good. Filled with HOPE and WONDERFUL thoughts. Most definitely not feeling alone rather feeling part of a BEAUTIFUL world.

Ask me yesterday and I would say what am I doing. Today it’s WE can do this.

I’m the same person, I’ve not moved, I’ve not won the money lottery. No person or no asset has entered my world. So why the swing in mood. Could it be that we are permanently riding those emotional waves. Swings in outlook are to be expected. Good moments, bad moments. Maybe the secret is to look at each day. What are the things that weigh me down and try to do something about those. Then most importantly work out what are the things that lift me up so much. If you can identify those things (maybe it’s just one important thing) then keep trying to move towards those wonderful things in life.

Yes WE can do this.

Walk

So each night Hawklad tries to walk a few more yards. To extend is external walk. To slowly start to build bridges again. Last night he bailed out early as he saw people in the distance. But it is progress. It’s a start. At some stage he will be ready to even face people again. But in his own time. Whether that happens before he leaves school, who knows.

I do worry that too many countries are just thinking vaccines. No other permanent changes required. The vaccine will beat the pandemic and return us to that wonderful former world….

But surely with a mutating virus which is still spreading and still so endemic, all a vaccine does is buy us time. It gives us a chance to make changes. To find ways to live safely. To get support out to the people who need it. To increasingly try to make it harder for the virus to spread and thus mutate.

But here’s the thing. The vaccine doesn’t really help with the growing tide of mental health issues facing our society. Speaking with the team trying to support Hawklad. They are being swamped by rising child mental health problems (and the identified problems are just scratching the surface of the real volume of problems out there). Plus was the old world that perfect. Even before a pandemic there was a mental health crisis.

Society and Governments need to quickly wake up to this. There are somethings a vaccine can’t fix for them…..

Worrying

It’s been a while since I ran past here. Beautiful Castle Howard. Looking back at the dates on the photos it was February 2020.

I’m the kinda person who worries. Often imagine the worst things. All that can go wrong (not often looking at all that could go right). That Marvel Dr Strange thing. Endlessly going through all the potential scenarios. Well the bad ones. But back those 14 months as hard as I tried I would not have ever envisioned the crazy and awful events which did take place. A pandemic. Lockdowns.

So what is the point of worrying about what might or might not happen down the line. It doesn’t help at all in the long run. Especially as the worrying is not an exact science.

The other thing is that worrying just about the potential bad stuff misses all the potential great stuff that could happen. Even with the pandemic. It’s been dreadful but look at all the fantastic people who have stepped up and done wonderful things. The heroes helping others. The sacrifices many have been prepared to make for the greater good.

Going forward surely if I’m going to try and think about the future I would be better off starting first with all the potential good stuff that might happen. That sounds like a plan.

Perspective

Proper Easter weather…..

Nothing like a Yorkshire Spring. As the say round here. This kind of weather puts hairs on your back….

It definitely puts several jumpers over your back.

But here’s the thing. It might seem cold in Yorkshire but is it really. In Nunavut it is -34 today. That’s proper cold.

Perspective is required.

It’s the same with my life. Sometimes it might seem tough. Not much support. Single parenting is hard. Tired. Isolated. Few too many lows. Loss.

But in reality it’s a GOOD life. I don’t need much support. I get some sleep. Single parenting means more quality time my son. I have wonderful friends. There have been many HIGHS. Still much to gain.

Perspective is always required.

Time

Finding time to live.

I think as you get older you start to realise the true value of time. We don’t have a finite amount of time to do the things we want to in life. In 2016 that point was brought into the starkest focus for me. Time can suddenly run out…..

So when the penny starts to drop the question then becomes Do you then do anything about it.

We all need to find time to really live.

I remember taking a job on the south coast of England. In Portsmouth. I was there for 6 months. It’s such a cool town, with much to see and do. It was new to me. In those 6 months I spent one afternoon wandering along the beach and looking at the naval history. That was it. The rest of the time I worked and basically just existed. Don’t get me wrong I had the opportunities to do much more with my time but I didn’t. Not much living went on there. Was I happy – certainly NOT.

Things are different now. Life has become a little too out of synch. Much feels out of my control. Beyond reach. Opportunities are not so apparent. But that fact doesn’t stop time slipping by.

Still need to find ways to live. Seize whatever opportunities that do present themselves.

We can do this. We can do some of that living.

Autism

It’s Autism Awareness week. It does feel like it should be Autism Awareness Week every week, every year until we finally start to make some real progress. Let’s not kid ourselves as we have are only just starting down that road.

This years theme is centred around inequalities. Inequalities that have become even more stark and exposed during the pandemic.

I tell you what is unequal. Bridge building. It’s always up to the autistic person to try and build those bridges. Our society, our institutions and too many of our communities are not interested. They see Autism through inaccurate stereotypes. Something to be ignored or brushed under the carpet. We’ve all experienced that approach. Individuality is frowned upon. People need to be forced into set moulds and templates.

Yesterday I was listening to the words of a really wonderful, unique and brilliant teenager. He was talking about his struggle with autism. His daily fight with inequalities and ignorance. Why was it so hard for people to understand. He was saying that every day he heard so many false stereotypes. But in fact he had a sense of humour, he liked having fun, he liked having friends, he had feelings, he cared. He was as valid as an individual as anyone else.

That lad wasn’t different he was UNIQUE. We all should be. It’s a better world for that.

We all should be welcomed and supported.

White rabbits

A cold, wind swept day. Definitely two jumper weather.

So it’s not quite sunbathing weather here. We did sit outside for a while. That’s with winter coats on while holding hot water bottles.

While outside we talked. Well when I say talked it was more about trying to reassure Hawklad. He was worried, really worried. April 1st and he had forgotten to say ‘white rabbits’. In Britain and also I believe in North America there is a tradition that saying ‘white rabbits’ as the first words of the new month brings good luck. Pilots had a similar superstition during the last war. Saying that phrase as the first words of each day apparently helped provide protection during the daily upcoming flying endeavours.

Hawklad has been doing the ‘white rabbits’ thing for a while now. I think he picked it up from me one time. I’m a bit annoyed with myself as I try to avoid Hawklad seeing me with any superstitions . Well this month he forgot. I would never give it a second thought but Hawklad was spooked. He takes things very literally. That can be a common personality trait with people with Aspergers. So I tried to reassure him but rather unsuccessfully. I will keep working on that. But it’s so difficult for him. More things to worry about. Life is so complicated…..

Just ask once

I had a scheduled call with the bank today. Just routine stuff. Routine stuff which you would just a year ago pop into the branch and sort out at the counter. Nothing is routine now.

Anyway during the call the bank person asked a couple of not really banking questions that kinda through me

Can I ask. Are you ok. Are you coping. It must be so tough. Are you getting the support you need.”

That’s the bank saying that……

Now before I go on – I am ok. I am coping. A bit of support would be nice but it’s not happening. But here’s the thing. I could so easily be doing not so well in this single parenting gig. Really struggling. Getting no support. Desperate. Looking over the precipice. Sadly many are. In fact forget the single bit, many people are….

I became a single parent in 2016 following the death of my partner. In that time the only official person to ask how I was doing was that bank person. No doctor, no school professional, no education specialist, no one from the local services. NO ONE in the support areas has ever asked what the bank person asked. How many people are struggling and nobody finds out. Nobody asks. I guess the assumption is that those that struggle will always put their hand up. Sadly that might not happen.

That is such a worrying thought.