Try Harder

The more I think about it, the more I am feeling pretty pissed off. In fact, I feel it in my gut! Sick with annoyance and helplessness.

You know when you just replay your day when you are trying to sleep? Well the penny just dropped at how awful it was for my psychiatrist to compare how HE managed his work load in his clinic to how I should be managing my work at home, showing me how to prioritise, and telling me everyone can find focus hard, especially working from home.

Good for him. Even I could prioritise my classes because I had a timetable that was pre-set, rigid and a whole day of routine planned around work & kids. He gave me atomoxetine which makes me sleepy and have headaches. So he said either lower dose over the next few weeks or “suck it up” and take psychotherapy seriously.

Where is the NHS booklet on ADHD I gave you? Erm what booklet? Oh is it my memory failing me or yours?

Not even an apology when he realised he had never mentioned to me before!

The reason he gave me medication to begin with was because I would have moaned for them so he just gave them. No ADHD diagnostic assessment that my mental health nurse told me about. Just Ritalin to prove me wrong that I don’t have ADHD because I complained to my GP about his colleague dismissing my request to be assessed for it after he diagnosed my ‘mild autism’. This doctor was trying to be careful with his words about my ADHD … because I took offence to the language used in my ASC diagnostic report from his colleague – so he drew me a pretty sketched linear graph showing the negative relationship between ADHD severity and age.

Thank you for highlighting that my frontal lobe has matured in my 36 years. But I still struggle and telling me to try harder isn’t going to help!

Apparently it’s my fault I can’t sleep because I don’t ‘allow’ myself these choices. It’s my fault that I don’t stick to the home timetable I have made myself. My fault I can’t focus or prioritise.

Well clearly these meds didn’t help you- stimulants – so nothing much I can do.

And this is him knowing the incredible complex domestic situation going on in the background. This is the same doctor who, in 2016, sent me away after talking at me for 20 minutes with beta blockers and advice to ditch the abusive husband to help my mental health (I was suicidal then).

A few months ago, he casually asks about self harm and suicidal thoughts. I told him straight out that the Ritalin was making think even more of self harm and before that in our first meeting I told him I do have suicidal thoughts. His response, well parental suicidal won’t have a good impact on the children, will it? He says to a suicide witness. 🤦🏽‍♀️

Privilege, Much?

Now why would I feel this is an episode of whyte male ableist middle class privilege?

  1. Knowing I have an autism diagnosis, and ADHD, the concept of executive dysfunction didn’t cross his brain! It’s a double whammy! Someone please show him this.
  2. Again more of him talking and assuming/telling me off rather than asking me questions 🙄 “When you are working from home, stick to your schedule and don’t, for example, go put the washing machine on.” There is lot to unpack in that one statement, pertaining to complete lack of understanding of female pressures, esp. brown females who are head of a household.
  3. The same doctor casually told me to end the abusive marriage and my problems will be solved. I had the referral to him due to extreme trauma and suspecting autism (2016). Had he any sort of cultural awareness, he would know how damaging and condescending that ‘diagnosis’ was.
  4.  I did talk about pressures even from my mum of my housekeeping, the role of being mum and the
  5. only adult in the house without structure or accountability and how I just get jammed with decision paralysis. Just write your list down, stick to your schedule…He mentioned some technique where you prioritise what’s on top of your paper file… haha he is assuming I have a neat pile! And what about electronic docs, files, work? How can I arrange that in a priority pile?!
  6. Clearly he has no clue of the interaction of ADHD behaviours with female hormones. Of course i have learned strategies, masking and have a grown my frontal lobe. But oestrogen levels also have an impact, regardless of age through menstrual cycle and then pre-menopause and menopause. Dr Amen explains it well here.

This is 2021, in the Western liberal and educated world. What will it take for an autistic woman to get real help! I finished writing feeling more angry than when I started but I needed to write it out. 😭😭🤬

Nobody Believes Me

Being heard is a fundamental aspect of keeping healthy. Mentally as well as physically.

Imagine, you had a gapping wound and the doctor said it’s only your perspective, everything is looking fine to us. How would we as a community react to that?

Yet, so many of autistics, women, people of colour, and God forbid you are all three like me, are left with the trauma and devastating consequences of not being believed.

Gaslighting of the privileged, be it gender, race, position, abled/ allist, has become so common that those with the best intent leave people like us feeling helpless. Why do we need to reassure our self that our perceptions aren’t flawed and they don’t need to revaluate theirs’?

I haven’t written on my blog for some time now and the reason is precisely this. The consequence of schools not taking me seriously about my autistic boys, or the police about the coercive control. And the damage caused by the trusted imam who, after one meeting and phone call with him, dismissed my 16 years of experience of his narcissism.

It doesn’t hurt me that bullies bully. That is a fact of life. What I cannot digest is the lack of care and seriously to their own responsibilities of those with position of power and influence.

For years I told the primary that oldest has additional needs, not being qualified or knowledge to ascertain what they actually were didn’t make a difference because when I did dive in found my own answers, I still didn’t get far for support. And now that history is repeating itself with the youngest at the same primary, I am left with renewed wound, but this time the trajectory already laid out in front.

This episode of Red Table Talk really surfaced a lot of experiences that have led to me always needing to evidence my statements. If you need to prove”, as Dr Raman states, for every little belief or thought, “then you have been gaslighted.”

And that explained my endless emails, documents and questions for reassurance that my perception isn’t flawed. Imagine that being your permanent state of mind. And still I AM NOT BELIEVED.

Many autistics have the need to know every detail, cross referenced multiple times and checked again, on subjects that matter to them. The possibility of rejection is devastating, more so for those like me and my teen who also have rejection sensitive dysphoria which makes us extremely susceptible to gaslighting and easy narcissist victims.

How do we move forward?

The pain of living the consequences of neglect of authorities will never be erased. The approach I have taken is to be well connected with people who do believe me to cater not just for need for constant reassurance, but also to build my army to support me in my battles. This is an unfortunate but vital aspect of social capital that disadvantaged people ironically lack.

I am not believed by authority when I need help, however, that will not dampen by determination. And for that I thank Allah for making me autistic. I am not alone.

The Outlaw

“When a [wo]man is denied the right to live the life [s]he believes in, [s]he has no choice but to become an outlaw.” Nelson Mandela

It’s sad that I see the plight of many single mothers in this.

I was called out for being an ‘outlaw’ yesterday.

I woke up this morning, heavy and bruised. Morning after of an emotional beating. I don’t get why I have to be badmouthed when he had an issue with his daughter. What’s this got to do with my sister ‘being a home wrecker’? Like she was involved in our marriage, right? She made you scream at me in front of the kids over the course of 16 years. Was it her who taught you that you own me?

Only in recently is she beginning to learn what happened behind the closed doors all this time. I was denied sharing my feelings and experiences to anyone out with these four walls. I was denied choice of spending my own time and money. Even choice over my body because that was yours too. Her name was dragged in because she became an outlaw two years earlier, after 8 years of tolerating abuse in the name of family honour.

it’s too easy to blame, discredit, and badmouth the ones who take away power from your… when that power wasn’t yours to begin with. Believing that your are the victim.

“Allah loves woman more” that’s why we should be putting up with ill treatment? It’s nonsense like this that make woman believe they have no agency, no voice and are wrong to call out narcissistic behaviour. I did just that yesterday and this is what I got. It’s a shame that such beliefs are still being peddled by some in our next generation. I was accused of being “ill”, that’s why I have/had marital issues. The only illness I suffered was depression resulting from ableism, sexism and narcissism. When it came to seeking the cure, I am the outlaw?

FYI- men and women are equal, all of them, and the only thing that differentiates between them, are their actions. So I will tell every woman here, Muslim or not, autistic or not, Pakistani or not… you have every right to call out narcissistic behaviour. Anyone stopping you is the problem. Move past them to get to your solution. There is no burden of responsibility to tolerate abuse in the name of keeping family together. What people don’t understand is that living together isn’t family, loving is.

A few things I had to teach my daughter the night before she was to face her father-

  1. Don’t wait for your place to be given to you because it never will be; you have to show up and take it.
  2. To be heard you use the magic formula of partial agreement.
  3. You can take down illogical and abusive beliefs respectfully, just don’t accept them and never let those nasty words sink in,
  4. Weak men are afraid of strong woman.

The hardest lesson for her, though, was to learn from her mistakes instead of calling herself an idiot and unlovable.

If outlaw is a label that received for being happy and relieved from abuse, then it’s one I encourage everyone to wear.