(though not necessarily in that order)

(though not necessarily in that order)

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Feelings and Things

To quote a title of a Chick Corea & Gary Burton piece.

Today I feel autistic. It happens less often now as the over-riding feeling, as I just am me, but today I feel autistic. I was in my old secondary school in a professional capacity, and the reason why I was there was great, it was a successful day. However, teachers there now who were around 5 years ago remember me. One wondered where the 4 years since I left have gone went. Another was really happy to see me interacting (hmm). Another just went "Ooo, hello", others went "Nice to see you." I wasn't exactly an easy student, I screwed up. I took up valuable time of people whose jobs it was to run a school when they had to get me safe. Or coordinate meetings about me. Or send memo's to all my teachers. Or search high and low for me when I disappeared. Or ring up poisons units, or psychiatrists, or my parents. Basically I was a bothersome student. Who wasn't exactly average (most qualifications at the end of the time there from my 200-strong cohort, 42% attendance record for the final year there - thus screwing up statistics completely) but did survive through something just short of a miracle.
Anyway, I was in this school, and though some things have changed (room numbering system for one, very confusing) it is still a place with huge memories for me. Trying to be professional when in that environment means seeming more non-autistic than most other people so they don't realise you are still as much of a mental as you were. So staring in corners isn't allowed. Stimming is only allowed if done in a discrete way (no rocking, no odd actions over and over and over). Oh, and perceived eye contact, so the hair lines of people have been focused on today.

On a day to day basis I don't feel *that* autistic, it doesn't impact on all that much negatively as I've created a life suitable to me. I've got my strengths focused on (only physical interaction is music and maths based, bar mental health professionals) rather than my weaknesses (9-5 job, anyone? Socialising in noisy places with mind-screeching music? Erm, being a functioning boring human being...) However when I need to seem non-autistic, then the problems start. I came home after the day and had to sit and stare at something for a while. I sight-read Beethoven sonatas to just be calm, I ate food that wasn't pressured by being watched by others, I basically had to unwind from the day.

For me when I *have* to be a less quirky, more functioning, non-me version of me, it makes the things that make me me seem all the more obvious. I would never choose to sit in a staff room, if I worked in a school (which I may do one day, but not this one) I wouldn't do the staff room unless it was necessary. I'd have to get out of the buildings and disappear off for 10 minutes. I guess this rules out working in a school in a more fixed contract based teaching-classrooms-of-children role, as sometimes things happen in breaks. It is back-up plan for life number 3, so hopefully won't be put into action any time soon. [In case you are wondering ideal plan 1 is being a maths lecturer at a university and living in a place in the middle of nowhere with a piano and not much else, whilst 2 is doing music teaching + SpLDs one-to-one stuff. Plan 4 is to get a job as a crematorium organist, which may just be slightly too morbid for it to be considered acceptable with my background.]

So I feel autistic. And as a result of today, it is 0220 and I am still awake, in my day clothing, and nowhere near ready for sleep. Some things never change, my sleep pattern is always mucked up. While I was a student at this school, I didn't sleep most Sunday-Thursday night times at all, took short naps during the day when I was sent home for being unable to cope, slept all of Saturday afternoon after teaching Saturday mornings, and some of Sunday, before realising school was the next day and being in panic.

I've got another 2 days in the school this week. And a mental appointment in under 8 hours. My room is a tip. I've listened to "Feelings and Things" a few too many times in the writing of this post. So, I bid you a farewell for the day which started as Tuesday, and move onto Wednesday by initiating Mission: Sleep.
From this autistic, quirky, weird, non-"functioning" being, it is time to type for the time being "Me, Out." as if I had a lovely clunky radio in my hand. (except I'm not "Me" then, I've got my own call sign when conversing with my family via radios as we do at times.)

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