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It’s been a long time since my last post. So long that, when I wrote it, I had no idea I would soon be living in a country that was torn almost exactly in two. I am talking about the EU referendum, which seems to have split the country not only in votes, but in emotions.

It has caused discord even among families and friends. Racists who were previously unknown have decided that a vote “out” somehow legitimises their feelings and have started pouring out more abuse. Others now think that anyone who voted out MUST be a racist. Young adults are angry with older generations, feeling that they have been personally attacked and that their bright futures have been torn away.

All this shows a worrying lack of consideration, and imagination. Can we not conceive a way forward that is different? Can we not deal with adversity? This country has, in the last hundred years alone, got through two world wars, not unscathed of course, but with much to be proud of.

And before that? Plenty of turmoil, wars and invasions, even civil war, which is what the current situation reminds me of. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a strong leader? Maybe another Churchill? Someone with a steady manner and broad shoulders to take on our troubles?

But we shouldn’t wait for someone else to be the hero. We can all do our bit! “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” (JF Kennedy)

I know that likening the current situation to a world war is not quite right. I confess there are many differences, and I don’t wish to be offensive. Even WWII, which is now famous for how it brought British people together, caused its own divisions; not everyone wanted to fight and be responsible for taking lives. But, I do believe that the overriding spirit of the time, the idea that we would face the enemy together, was what kept men, women and children getting out of bed each morning. There is so much strength in unity.

Everyone should be doing their bit, to shape a positive, supportive society. What is the use of name-calling? What is the point of moaning and blaming other people? We are here, we live by the same rules, we put our faith in democracy because it is better than dictatorship.

Regardless of whether we leave or stay within the EU, I don’t want us to be divided by anger. I don’t want Scotland, or Wales, or London, or Europe to feel that we are not friends, that we are not worthy of their loyalty.

My readers who are also fellow Aspies will know what it feels like to be cut off; to be divided from everyone around you. Hopefully, you will also know how good it feels when you finally start to make solid connections. Let us never be so divided again.

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Did my title send a shiver of excitement down your spine? That’s what it does for me. I can imagine waking up to find the sun has already risen, someone has left a cup of coffee by my side. I rise, drink, and wander downstairs in my pyjamas. My husband has got our daughter ready to go out for the day. I am staying in. I am going to practice yoga, do lots of reading, and then eat a delicious dinner that my husband is going to cook for me.

It’s a fantasy, of course. I can’t imagine that this will ever happen. A quiet hour is as much as I get, and then it’s often filled with housework or studying. But still I like to dream. I like to imagine that one day will be pure relaxation.

What do you wish for?

I have realised today that I am incredibly lucky.

For the past week, I’ve been ill. I got a stomach bug that never quite seemed to go away – I even started to get dizzy spells. On top of that, my beautiful daughter got croup again. I was SO stressed, and actually started to get the kind of thoughts I used to get when I first got depressed, about half my life ago.

Today it occurred to me that my stomach pains had made me eat a lot less, which was probably the cause of the dizzy spells. I also realised that my continued stomach ‘flare ups’ were probably still happening because I’d been so stressed.

Today my daughter is much better, and I’ve been eating more. I’ve had no dizzy spells yet – touch wood! I made a conscious effort to think more positively, and I did some yoga. I also realised that all the changes at work that I’ve been worried about, should actually put me and my family in a much more secure, and less stressful, position than before.

I am slowly starting to unwind.

I have often noticed how different people cope with stress. What I’ve seen (in my limited experience) is that non-Aspies, such as my other half, seem to deal with stress a lot better than people like me. I’m not sure if this is generally true.

Something else I’ve noticed is that men seem to cope better than women – but this might be because they have been raised with an expectation of stress, or taught to have greater confidence in their own resources.

Whatever the reasons, I know that my body does not cope well with stress. When I get stressed a whole host of symptoms appear: mouth ulcers, tiredness, sensitive bowel, insomnia, dry skin, comfort eating or loss of appetite. I’m also open to any germs my toddler happens to send my way – mostly colds and sometimes diarrhoea.

This sucks. I am fed up of it.

I have had so many changes to cope with in the last 12 months and no immediate sign of any respite. I always seem to have too much to do.

I suspect, I need to change, rather than waiting patiently for life to ‘calm down’.

So, how do you do that? How do Aspies – or anyone – cope with stress?

All tips (and sympathy) welcome!

Do you find emotions overwhelming and difficult to experience? I try to avoid certain thoughts so that I won’t become sad but they linger at the back of my mind and I know they’re there. I’m quick to cry these days, for sadness and joy. It’s easy to feel unstable. Unsafe.

It’s an unfortunate fact that the more you have, the more you have to lose. When I was younger, it seemed as if I had nothing to lose. Now I have so much. That’s why it’s easy to cry if I hear about someone else’s loss, or someone else’s gain. Life is fragile and the Aspie mind doesn’t seem to make a good filter.

I recently heard a piece of music that made me think a question I’d asked years ago had been answered. Something about the tune just reminded me of how I used to feel, when I thought the Universe had abandoned me. That memory made me think about how different things are now. I cannot erase that history – that old feeling. But I can now embrace those emotions, just a little, without falling into despair, because I feel saved.

It’s always satisfying when I find a concise way of summarising my life – as with today’s blog title. Regular readers (I hope there may be a few) will remember that a few weeks ago I was worrying about a play date.

This time, my fears were unfounded, but I have yet to receive a return invitation and I don’t know if that’s a bad thing or not. My daughter liked the little boy who came over. I thought I’d got on well with the mother, and with the boy to an extent. Should I be worried? Should I invite them again anyway?

I’m also worried about work. It always seems as if the things that worry me most, are things I can do nothing about. Yet I still waste energy thinking about them when I should be focussing on what I can do, and catching up with my studies. Maybe I’m just using these things to help me procrastinate.

What else? O yes, the trip to A&E.

Having spent months suffering a cough that has given me constant muscle-ache in my right side, I was finally diagnosed and given antibiotics.

These made me very ill, so, my husband drove me to A&E where I spent the short wait alternately visiting the toilet and crying because my mum is nearly 70 and this makes me very sad.

Now I have new antibiotics and two weeks with no alcohol, hoping that my cough will finally get lost.

I also have my mum’s birthday party to look forward to, some outings with friends, and yoga once a week, so it’s not all bad.

And breathe…

PS. If you have any tips for relaxing that don’t involve alcohol, I’d love to hear about them in the comments! Thank you.

If you’ve read Becoming my mother,¬†you’ll know that I started taking an interest in gardening a few months ago. This is ongoing, with mixed success. As a budding gardener, I am following in my mother’s footsteps as usual. (I think she may also be on the autism spectrum too.)

I am also following in her footsteps by watching a gardening programme – but not just any old gardening programme – nothing beats “The Autistic Gardener” for me! Have you seen it? An award winning autistic gardener gathered a group of keen amateurs who are all on the spectrum. Some have autism and some were diagnosed with Asperger’s – they are all great to watch on TV.

It was so refreshing to see non-NTs represented on TV, and to see how they flourished with their new responsibilities.

One of the younger team members said to camera, how awful it was to feel useless. I think this feeling is experienced by many on the autism spectrum. We see ‘everyone else’ doing things that we can’t – making friends, fitting in at work, moving into their own homes, and we feel that there’s something wrong with us because we struggle. We convince ourselves that we don’t fit. We’re just useless.

What an awful situation to be in. I hope being on that show has changed his opinion of himself. I also hope people watching it, who have autism, or who know someone with autism, will change their opinions too.

For me, gardening has not been a career lifeline, or a social game-changer, but it is satisfying to have home grown herbs, peaches, and carrots to eat. It is also good to sit out in the fresh air in a space that has become more beautiful because you have worked with nature.

I look forward to adding more to my garden.