- My first ever attempts to understand myself and improve life where when I was a teenager, my Dad wouldn’t accept my leaning difficulties and had frequently physically punished me but that had not improved anything, so I bought my own text books from the money I earned doing a newspaper round, and I taught myself. I found that I could teach myself and that learning became fun, no longer an ordeal of being afraid of punishment.
- I was also a teenager when I first found out about bullying, really found out, from a book, and pretty much stopped my sister’s daily torment of me. She was a year older than me and had spent my whole life belittling me and making me feel stupid and small. You wonder why I am so irritable? I think that played a small part in it, I feel small and stupid still, but she pretty much stopped when I learned from the bullying book and told her off.
- The first year I spent at college was when I did my GCSE’s, and back then I was so afraid of ‘The Social Services’ and other similar services that I freaked out whenever learning support approached me, because I was afraid that they were the same thing, so I missed out on valuable help there.
- The Second college year was when I left home to go to the Agricultural College, this is when I started to develop independence, although my family still had great influence on me, with my Mum phoning me about ‘Jihads that might kill us’ etc, and leaving me terrified. In agricultural college I referred myself for counselling, which was entirely against my parents’ beliefs and wishes and my Mum was very vocal on the topic, saying it is better to speak to a friend than ‘one of them’, in that case though, she was almost right, as the counsellor was merely a tutor who earned extra money for the label ‘counsellor’ and if anything, his involvement made things more complex and certainly did not bring any insight into ‘what was wrong’, as I had been increasingly aware through my teenage years that ‘something was wrong’. I do not know if I directly connected my problems to what had happened in the past then, I think I kind of knew, but didn’t realise the depth of it.
- Self-help. Because counselling was not working effectively, I started self-help, through books and tapes. I became addicted to it, and thankfully, being young and autistic, I managed to memorise some social skills from the books and tapes, which did help me, advice like, ‘don’t go round looking miserable, smile’, I learned to smile instead of my face being stuck in an unhappy mask, it did help.
- I also continued to seek help but didn’t know either what was wrong or what help I needed. I was not put on regular learning support because I passed the basic skills tests and so they thought I was ok. When counselling at the college didn’t work, I sought counselling elsewhere, I went to the Youth Centre in Winchester but they were very vague and their counsellors who were trainee counsellors, did not know what to make of my silence and so could not offer anything. So again I was left with no help and nowhere to turn.
- The college student officer didn’t understand me and treated me with scorn, and the feeling was mutual because I really didn’t like her or her ethics. She referred me to the college doctor, the first doctor I had actually seen, apart from a police doctor when I was 12 and a doctor friend of my mum’s when I was about 11. My parents had taught me that Doctors were bad news, so that didn’t help, but when he asked if I was hearing voices because of my hypersensitivity to noise outside and because of the bad view that the student support officer had of me being ‘odd’ and not fitting in, I was furious, and again, there was no help available. Horrifying prejudiced perceptions, but as I was not hearing voices, the end result was me upset, angry, believing that my parents could be right about doctors, and with no help.
- When JM burst onto the scene and tried to take over the college, she also liased with the student welfare officer and as a result I nearly abandoned my request to see JM, I did end up seeing her though, and she swiftly crossed boundaries, took me home, and stopped being my counsellor and told me she was like a surrogate mum for me. Fine, but then I was without counselling again.
- When I left college, I was on anti-depressants and seeing the doctor every fortnight, the same doctor who had let me and a friend of mine down. I did not have faith in him, didn’t like him, didn’t know I had a choice and could change doctors, seeing him was not benefitting me, and the anti-depressants were leaving me in the confused and vulnerable haze that allowed FM to abuse me. Basically anti-depressants made me ill from the start and didn’t help, but you trust doctors and medicines, I guess, you think they cannot be wrong, even me, with my background, I did as I was told and took these anti-depressants and was ill all the time, as well as having FM’s advances and a crisis situation whereby I had left college and had no idea of the future.
- JM claimed that anger management could only be accessed in Hampshire if you were in the prison. She was mistaken, and I started paying most of my benefits to see an anger management psychologist, but sadly I couldn’t afford to keep that up. Later, recently it turned out he was available on the NHS, but I am sure he wasn’t at the time.
- I joined a creative writing class to see if that would help me work some things out, but it was run by one of the tutors from the agricultural college, and so I was always ashamed to share my work, in view of the fact that back then, the college simply had not understood me. I quit the class for the same reason.
- I started studying psychology as a correspondence course and learned about autism from that and was increasingly sure I was on the spectrum, but at the time I had no idea how to get diagnosis, the doctor was basically not interested in me and my problems, and my appointments with him were a drag, so I never dared to ask him, he did only a few helpful things when i saw him, and these were not to do with mental health, he diagnosed me with hayfever and he gave me antibiotics for my tonsils, which regularly flare up and cause me problems to this day, I have got bored with taking my tonsils to the doctor, I just wash them with TCP instead.
JM claimed that autism was ‘just a label’ that would prevent me from taking responsibility for my behaviour’, the fact that she had so much influence in my life meant she won about that and she continued to make me out to be ‘difficult’ to people in the parish, sharing my college problems and basically blatantly breaching every confidence possible, for which the diocese did not have her publicly flogged when they flogged me for ‘causing her problems’ in 2011.
- So, undiagnosed and with no form of therapeutic help, I was in ‘sheltered housing’, which was another form of help that wasn’t. I had agreed to the referral and JM had done it, because she said her friend ran the sheltered house, as it was, her friend had gone on permenant sick leave, leaving an agency support worker who came in on weekdays, in charge of the house. The agency support worker liked to party, got PMT, took it out on us, I was there for a matter of months and not receiving any benefit or support from being in such an environment, rather deteriorating as I watched or got caught up in, the other residents rows and problems, I did, however see the similarities between myself and two autistic residents there. But after a few months in the house, and a few months in the transition flat, I moved independently into independent lodgings, where I remained for years.
- So, newly independent, I worked in supported employment and continued to seek help and to try and develop myself.
- In the town I moved to, I registered with an awful surgery, but there wasn’t much choice there. The doctors were always both late and impatient. I was left with an injury from work that I was told to go back t owork with, doing lasting damage, and was eventually, too late, referred for NHS physio, which didn’t repair it, although the physio noticed I was lopsided, she and others never thought to check if I had leg length syndrome, which would have saved a lot of pain a long time ago if they had. Anyway, NHS physio didn’t work and I was left injured until I paid to go to a private clinic, where the injury was mended by re-aligning the out of place components.
- I did short courses at work on ‘confidence building’, ‘communication skills’ and ‘teamwork’, but did not find them very beneficial, as my communication did not improve, and ‘communication skills’ was geared up to making presentations rather than interpersonal skills, and I was scared of the rest of the group because I did not know them and still didn’t know how to be with people.
- Basically not a lot of help was available in those few years, I continued to work very hard on my self-help instead. and as well as that, I broke away from my parents influence, with my Dad shouting at me that ‘The Church of England were brainwashing me!’, having found out about my association with them, well he was mistaken about that, but the Church of England have done their share of harm and I can now understand why my parents disliked the Church of England, although their views were quite extreme.
- One of JM’s church members, very feminist and ‘frothy’ (JM’s way of describing airy-fairy), decided she was my ‘counsellor’ untrained and with no supervision or qualification or permission from the church, where she held various positions. She would make me sit there, and I was supposed to talk, but as ever, I had no idea how to do this (funnily enough, I still can’t talk to my therapist unless she asks me questions, I am very reactive and not very proactive when it comes to speaking and making contact verbally). Anyway, this frothy woman, who is still around in Winchester, would get me to sit there in her office as if she was counselling me, no contract or explanation, she just actively made a habit of it, rather than me seeing her and her husband for a cuppa, she would get me to go and sit in her office and talk. It was always embarrassing.
It was also unethical as she wasn’t trained for what she was trying to do and her prejudices were so extreme and so awful. JM, breaching counselling confidences herself, had given her opinion of me to this woman and she repeated them back, in what became a feature of the way the church of england treated me from start to now, prejudice, rumours and condemnation, I was not allowed to develop and grow from who I was when I struggled at college, just as the Diocese and Deanery’s attack on me has not let me grow from the terrible state I was in in Jersey.
Anyway, this woman would make me sit there, and she would tell me I shouldn’t be doing the kind of work I did because I was female, shocking prejudices that don’t belong in counselling, she was so ‘us girls and them men!’ when I don’t think like that at all, I am not feminist or in favour of segregation, I just think people should live.
Anyway, I told this woman about FM abusing me, but nothing was done, I told her in 2001 or 2002, but last time I saw her, she and her husband (now deceased) were with FM, laughing at me as I was homeless and shamed on the streets of Winchester in 2010.
I will stop for now as I am so disgusted. The Diocese have never dealt with any of this or taken my side and my account of things at all, they would whip me when these neurotypical people in authority in their churches have behaved as they have!