It's been an interesting few days and I've bumped into more people that I hadn't seen in a long time. On Friday I met with Jack and we went to McDonald's. We watched a bit of a Tom Segura stand up special whilst we ate, then headed back to Wilburton where he lives. We had a smoke and chill up at the rec (park) in the village, chatting about games and such like. I've often wondered if Jack is on the spectrum or has ADHD. His behaviour, incredible memory for video game facts and the speed with which he talks has made me suspect he might be.
On Saturday as I was about set off to go staffing up Haddenham rec, I bumped into my neighbour. I hadn't seen her since the night her husband had died suddenly at home. It's strange that, for such a traumatic evening I've not emotionally overinvested in it. Mind you, her cry was pretty haunting. Me and Kristy were saving up for our mortgage deposit at the time and were watching a show in my brother's old room (where I'm living at the moment). His room overlooks the High Street and she was outside crying. Heard distant howling which I assumed to be an animal, but as it continued me and Kristy looked at each other and it suddenly dawned on us that it was a person and they were in extreme distress. I've never heard a noise like it before in my life. I think I glanced out the window and realised it was our neighbour, Kate.
I rushed downstairs and into the living room where my mum and dad were watching TV. I told mum that something very wrong with Kate and she was crying outside. When we all went out to take a look we saw her crying uncontrollably in the street and when she saw us she shouted "I think he's dead." I called an ambulance - the moment speaking to the operator was one of real panic. I went into the house during the phone call. A neighbour and myself moved him out of the bathroom where he'd collapsed. It was uncanny - he was warm to the touch and the way his body moved as we shifted him, it felt briefly like he was still conscious and alive.
In the end an ambulance and 2 paramedic cars arrived. I filtered out of there when they began to arrive. Kristy never went in the house. Her and my dad were back at home. My mum spent many hours with Kate that night. The paramedics spent nearly an hour there and he was pronounced dead.
But back to Saturday - I'd come across Kate's new partner a couple of times but hadn't encountered Kate properly yet. We stopped and had a chat - the first one I think I've had with her in over 15 years. We spoke of my staffing and that she'd seen my Facebook art page as well as the video of me staffing at Aldan's wedding a few months back. Ach, I can still vividly recall how anxious I was when I turned up. It was quite a mind melting experience, and my body followed suit. In fact, that was day one of that ear infection and antibiotics too. Anxiety was high and fixated upon that as well as counting down to the wedding reception performance. Still, as messy as it felt inside - that moment when I thought it, and my wicks burnt out was perfect. The claps and cheers of 40 odd people felt very good too. A cheer from a crowd hasn't really happened much at all, but it's a warming and empowering feeling.
Staffing up at the rec on Saturday wasn't relaxing. Local teams were about to have a kick off on the football (soccer) field. When it began they were very loud. Shouting, swearing and testoerone permeated the air. I didn't hang around for too long. I prefer the sound of wind and bird songs - not that racket.
Went to get munch later that day and met up with Ryan - he was one of the first people from round here that I smoked weed with. A girl called Claire knew them. I knew her from my second 6th form collect I went to (as I flunked the first). I recall seeing her outside my house and Ryan and Paul rocking up in a car. They chatted with Claire and as they drove off she whispered to me not to hang out with them. In the end I did - and I could see her point. We had a lot of fun, but man were these guys reckless. I'd never experienced such moments or emotions in my life. Times when you could easily get hurt or in trouble. Since then a lot of experiences have paled in comparison to how I'd been living in my late teens and early 20's. I'd felt very alive back then. Since 2012 when that second, 2 hour long panic attack hit me - I've definitely changed, and become very introvert and afraid.
We met in the supermarket, he was getting some beers from the fridge as I was walking toward the till. He called out my name and oof - time flies. He was as tall as I was and his voice had changed a lot since I hung out with him when he was 17. Not long into the convo, and around others he asked if I "still smoked". I said I had been and he mentioned thinking I'd quit. I told him that I had done so a few times, but I was back on it and asked for his number.
When I'd finished up paying I dropped my food in the car and went over to Ryan's van. He had a beautiful cross breed dog in the car. Had the build and look of a Staffie (bull terrier). We chatted for 20 odd minutes about work, smoking and such like. He's living on the wrong side of the law these days. Got busted doing a grow with 20+ plants in the same unit he ran his garage out of (ach). Then again with 3 oz of weed and £700+ in cash driving about in one of the nearby towns at 01:30 one night. As we chatted we saw a few nice cars going by the roundabout and up the main road. A V8 dodge ram and some form of high end Porsche from the 2000's. Ryan was into his cars, especially BMW's. He told me he'd be happy to do car work for me. It's nice to see he followed what he loved doing.
Speaking of, last night I added an old work colleague from my first job. He was another one of my early smoking buddies. He has that sort of personality and charisma that makes him really stand out from a crowd. He got out of the rat race and started making a living from what he creates and implored me to do the same. He makes amazing woodwork and other pieces - a really talented guy. Truth be told, I saw his Facebook wall, with all his exploits, and creativity and my fears gave me a gut punch - felt like a failure again. I almost talked myself out of trying to add or message him. Thankfully I shook it off and did.
He also has ADHD and worked in office jobs for 15 years. Back in the day - I felt a lot more liberated and carefree than now. In fact, I feel more connection and openness with strangers I meet in the parks whilst staffing. Probably because it's doing something I love and as such my energy is up. At work - I hate it and my energy is low and negative. Sanjay also shares lots of music on his page too - made me smile.
Back in our first job he had his speaker on playing a wide range of music. He shared a lot of cool stuff with me, and that eclectic taste in music that he and others at Play.com had really inspired me to explore more and more genres of music.
Anyway - he got out of the rat race and he told me to network and meet similar people. Your people - he said, which made me feel quite emotional. But it's true - I look at the people at work and I don't relate to the jokes, the humour or interests. I feel so detached and it's no wonder that mental health has declined and I feel how I do.
It's not to say it's all bad, but Sanjay went for something that until now I've only dreamed of doing. To say no to doing anymore jobs that you hate and doing what you know your real calling is. That sort of courage, conviction and energy is inspiring, and yet it also humbles me - because my fears and doubt tether me down.
He's right though, and with the house sale money still "several weeks" away - I feel like I could be nearing the end of my current job. Out of all of them, this has felt like the worst fit. It's been the most stressful and without having any friends, chatting or joking around each day at work? It's felt like a white knuckle ride for my mental health, and I'm tired of it.
I think that's why the arts and craft fair idea keeps repeating in my mind (and yet to become a reality) - the realisation that if I'm around other like minded and creative people, I will network and feel more at ease. New people means new opportunities and ideas - possibly even friendships. That fear that drives all my daily aches, and all the anxiety and depression really had a field day with how stagnent the art has been. Whilst the Facebook site slowly grows in numbers, it's mainly due to advertising and that feels impersonal and it's expensive.
Me and Sanjay said we should meet soon - I'm looking forward to it, but I'm also nervous. I feel that sometimes a step in the right direction has my mind wanting to turn tail and run. In truth I know deep down that I can succeed. I know it without a shadow of doubt, but the belief is where things fall down. I have so many conflicting beliefs and when unworthiness competes with talent - I find I've taken a back seat to a lot in life because I was too afraid of what the outcome might be.
Realistically, even during moments of blind panic - I think I always know deep down "you're going to be ok."
I have been thinking a lot recently about "my people" and Sanjay's comments reignited that. The video game crowd isn't a good fit. I've had a craving to make new friends for a long time. Discord voice chats don't cut it. Video games are a waste of time - 30k+ hours and counting...
Making the change to staff closer to footpaths in the parks made a big difference. Yet regular face to face chats with friends hasn't happened much since Graham left where I work. Whilst socialising often exhausts me, I need good friends again.
I don't want to move to a place to continue to work a job I hate. Sanjay is moving up to Manchester. Said the scene up north is amazing. A move has called out to me over the years. If it was for doing something I love? Maybe...
Boo word limit.
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