Saturday, 22 December 2012

It isn't just the elderly who are victims

Earlier this month, I saw a TV programme on BBC 1 featuring elderly people who had been tricked out of money or their life savings by unscrupulous conmen or loan sharks. Perhaps this programme was put out because we are near Christmas, but one thought crossed my mind when I was watching it -and it was have you ever noticed how on TV shows like this, it is always the elderly who are shown being tricked by loan sharks or conmen or the unscrupulous, but they rarely, if ever, mention the mentally ill or disabled or people with conditions such as Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, General Learning Disabilities or those who are just vulnerable being conned, ripped off or taken advantage by conmen or loan sharks or the unscrupulous? They are just as much at risk at falling victim as the elderly. Some of the elderly are more mentally alert or astute than myself. Some of the elderly know exactly what they are doing and saying and many of them aren't tricked by conmen or loan sharks. Some of the elderly aren't vulnerable at all. It is time that others who could be taken advantage of and conned were featured on these programmes. How about readdressing the balance BBC and ITV?

Sunday, 2 December 2012

ADHD As A Co-Morbidity

I was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome on Wednesday 31st May 2000, aged 23 years, 9 months and 11 days. It was one of the best decisions I have made in my life so far, and did provide many answers to why my life had been like it had been like it had. I designed my website, and got in touch with other people on the spectrum, and having learned about it, I felt less alone, and realised there were others that this condition touched and affected, though I have always maintained it seems society and some other people seem to have a bigger problem with me having it than I do myself. I guess that applies to many other people who don't fit in with what society or other people class as normal, whatever that term is or means. I have stopped worrying or caring. I really don't do either anymore and am just myself. If people like it, fine. If they don't, then they can F*ck off because I don't need them.

The AS diagnosis answered two-thirds of the questions to my life, but not all of them, and I began to realise I had Attention Deficity Hyperactivity Disorder as a Comorbidity. ADHD is a common comorbidity to Asperger's Syndrome or Autistic Spectrum Conditions. I dislike the term Disorder. What gives another person the right to say that I am disordered? I am not an Heroin Addict. I don't rape females. I don't sexually abuse young children. I am not interested in child pornography. I don't beat 10 bells out of people for little or no reason. I don't steal cars or burgle people's houses. I don't kill other people or torture or kill animals for enjoyment or fun. So how I am disordered?

To cut a long story short, I was diagnosed with ADHD in May this year, 12 years after my AS diagnosis. I will reveal how I came to be diagnosed when I design my website about it next year. I already have a website about my life with Asperger's Syndrome and how that has affected me, but I can't list everything about either ADHD or AS because both are too long a story for this blog. However... below you can learn, briefly about some of my ADHD symptoms which I have shown in life....

I have the short-term memory of a Gnat and the long-term memory of an Elephant. Well so I thought. I now realise though it is a poor working memory I have, not a short-term memory problem. They are two seperate things. I have lost, in the years between 1994 and 2006, my central library card on seven different occasions. On Wednesday 20th June 2001 I left a library book on a bus. I couldn't find it, after tracing my steps, and it wasn't handed in, so I had to pay for it. Fortunately, it wasn't an expensive one.

On Monday 9th September 2002 I left my walkman in an Internet cafe, where I used to frequent between June 2001 and April 2004. I got it the following day, where someone had, thankfully, handed it in.

On Saturday 24th January 2004, I left the same walkman behind in a library, but this time, I lost it for good.

Five weeks later, on Saturday 28th February 2004, I went into town and bought "Q", the music magazine. After that, I went into a fairly quiet pub with a friend of mine around 12.30pm and went after drinking two of pints. After walking half-way down the street, I realized that I had left the magazine in the pub. I caught the bus home and ended up on the wrong one. I was half way up Sheffield Road before I knew I had, so I got off and caught the correct one home.

Nine months later, on Monday 22nd November 2004, I lost my walkman (I bought it on Thursday 5th February 2004 as a replacement for the one I lost 12 days earlier) and to this day I don't know where it was or where I left it. I don't care where it is now. It was too inconvenient and bulky looking back. Seven years earlier, On Wednesday 16th April 1997, I left a walkman behind, again in a Library, and never got it back. It had been bought for me at Christmas 1996 as a present.

On Wednesday 23rd March 2005 I handed in some clothes in for my parents to a shop that mends them. I was about to hand a £20 note over when I suddenly realised that it wasn't there. I told the people working in the shop to wait. I walked down the Eldon street to find it but it wasn't there either. I turned around, and incredibly I found it at the side of the road just near the shop. I quickly retrieved it and paid for the items. I was very, very lucky that day.

On the morning of Monday 4th April 2005 I put two slices of bread in the toaster and went to the toilet. I had an idea for my website and rushed to the PC to put the idea on it. However I got so involved in it that I forgot about the bread and left the toast to burn! That is how I am. I get so engrossed in one thing at a time that everything and everybody else seem unimportant.

On the night of Wednesday 31st August 2005 I was reading a book and went to bed. I got so engrossed in it that I forgot to lock the door, which remained unlocked until I got up the following morning.

On Monday 4th February 2008, I went to the Tesco's and bought a chocolate bar named "Star Bar". However, I started eating it whilst I was queueing. I hate queues, and my mind races whilst I am in them. This shop assistant said that "Eating that without paying for it is a criminal offence". I erupted "What? I was going to pay for it. I have the money here in my hand. In fact, if you want to phone the police, go on, do so. Go on, phone them. Go on..". The individual who warned me didn't take up my instruction to do so. I then, after purchasing the item, left.

On Tuesday 7th July 2009, a wet, miserable day, I went to the gym. When I got there, I learned that I had left my gym shorts behind. I could hardly work out in my jeans could I? So I went back, and brought my shorts. I then worked out, and had a shower. I set off, and then, half way home, found out I had left my gym key behind in the changing rooms. It wasn't that important, as they are changing the equipment over to be activated by a card in August 2009, but I still was a bit upset over misplacing it. However, they gave me another key, and that was the end of that story.

My mind is like a cement mixer. It never rests and gets several different thoughts about things which are totally random or irrelevant to what I am doing. It can and does go quiet, when I fully engaged and interested. Otherwise it doesn't. I think to myself "Shut the F*ck up" when it is coming out with thoughts that are totally irrelevant and random. My ADHD has played a large part in my daft thoughts I am sure which I am very grateful of. Don't get me wrong, it can be useful if I am thinking on my feet or involved in creative or brainstorming sessions but otherwise can be very annoying.

My mind demands to be engaged in mental effort but yet, dislikes activities with extreme mental effort. I also feel sleepy after studying or trying to concentrate regardless of what I am doing. When using the Internet I have about six windows open at once and keep jumping from one to another.

When talking, I must get out what I want to say immediately because if I don’t, I forget it. What I wanted to say goes and I can’t get it back then.

I hate queues. They agitate me intensely and make me panic. My mind races even more and I just want to get out of there as quick as I can.

When someone is rambling on at length I often lose interest very quickly, and if or when you are talking to me, you have to emulate me, and get to the point very quickly, otherwise, you will lose whatever hold you had over me, and I will lose interest. I don’t take offence at someone’s frankness as long as they aren't wasting my time, but stringing me along just makes me bored.

I have always talked very fast. On Friday 11th May 2001 I saw a psychiatrist and he said "I have noticed that you speak very quickly". I remember carrying out presentations in the first year and second year at Secondary School and the Teachers telling my parents that other children in my class would be setting their watches to see how fast I talked. Sometimes when I talk I mispronounce words because my thoughts are racing too fast.

You might think that I can't concentrate at all. I can. At times I can hyperfocus. If something interests me greatly, I can concentrate intensely and nothing or no-one can distract me and everything and anything can get blocked out, but that is only if something does interest me greatly. My concentration levels seem to be all or nothing. There is no happy medium.

I am always fiddling with my belt, tapping my feet, moving my toes about, making movements with my eyes and rubbing my hair. When sat, I frequently shake my legs and tap my feet. When sat down, I frequently move my toes about if sat watching something or rub my fingers up against one another.

Since August 2012 I have taken Strattera medication, or Atomoxetine. It is a non-stimulant medication designed to reduce some of the symptoms of ADHD. I currently take 60mg morning and evening. It has made me feel calmer and I am not as jumpy, but it has done nothing to improve my concentration span or make my brain go quiet when I am not really thinking about anything, and that is what I want to achieve in life and would get rid of SOME of my problems.

We Are All One-Offs

When somebody dies, one of the most frequently meaningless statements uttered is "He was a one-off" or "We will never see his like again". When I have heard that, I have thought to myself "I can't think of a more ordinary individual" or "Did this person invent a cure for Cancer or come up with a great invention or innovation? Did he live in an igloo in the Arctic for a year or did he dig his front garden dressed in a blue woolly hat, Y-fronts and Wellington Boots?".. if not.. then he wasn't a one-off. Maybe this is a glib or shallow way of saying that they will miss this person, but looking at it a different way, I have thought "Of course we will never see his like again.. we will never see most people's like again because all of us differ from each other in some way or another, and in that regard, most of us are one-offs".