Those with autism know how tough it can be during the Christmas holidays. Feeling overwhelmed by the lead up to Christmas can eventually result in meltdowns, or in my case, major meltdowns. Anxieties play a huge part, as the period gets busier, it can become quite stressful for me and especially those around us.
This time last year was the most hard-hitting and unforgettable time of all where I spent my first Christmas in a psychiatric ward 300 miles away up country without my loved ones around me. Last Halloween was a nightmare and my biggest meltdown occured in my family home. After getting arrested, I experienced what feels like hell for the last 3 months of the year that followed up untill Christmas. Halloween was entriely my fault and I feel ashamed of my actions that night. 3 months that followed, I was on bail and not allowed to see my mum becauseof my bail conditions, I spent the whole of November and part of December in my dad's home alone across the road from me as I sit anxiously waiting to attend my bail at the police station some time onwards having to occupy myself staying in all day, most days. I was left with nothing to do and pretty much alone which of course wasn't good for my anxieties. I felt extremely depressed and not knowing whether I would be spending Christmas at home with mum and the rest of my family or elsewhere.
Unfortunately, my bail that I had to attend was pushed back and set for a later date, this happend on 3 occasions, leaving me questioning whether Christmas is cancelled for myself. My dad eventually returned from his holiday that he had planned for months. Having my social worker keeping a check up and popping in to see me every now and then.
Things then grew worse as the more I became depressed and worrying about what might happen to me when I attend my bail. I was home alone at a time when my dad was working and I felt my worst. I took a small overdose of my tablets that I found. I rang my dad and told him I had taken an overdose and that I regret it. The ambulance soon came to my flat and I went to hospital which was meant to be for just a few hours while they keep an eye on me. These few hours turned into overnight as professionals were 'apparently' concerned for my wellbeing. Staying in hosptal now for over a week, I was told I was going to be sectioned for my saftety even though my overdose was just a cry for help. I never intended to kill myself, It was just a quick, last minute thought that I had acted on.
These so called professionals and services who were meant to be there to support me were useless and made matters worse. They were still banging on about what happened on Halloween and I felt I've been punished enough already as they sectioned me. It was a week before Christmas day and nothing was getting any better and I knew I wouldn't be home for Christmas or I would of at least liked to have known I was close by to home for Christmas in my local hospital. Instead they forced me to be sectioned 300 miles away. My family were absolutely livid and in shock. They did the best they could to help make me stay in Cornwall for Chrsitmas but it seemed to have taken these professionals 3 whole months to do something about what happened on Halloween as they used my small overdose as an easy excuse for themselves.
It was now December 21st and I was on my way up to the hospital where I would be spending the next 4 weeks which felt like a prison. Restrictions everwhere on the secure unit, I knew this wasn't the right place for me. I was mentally stable, I knew it myself and my family knew it too. I had just made silly mistakes. I knew that my mum was doing her very best to get me home. She did everything she possibly could by writing her own reports and various complaints as well as contacting the newspaper and putting a story in there. (www.cornwalllive.com/mother-blames-social-services-autistic-son/story-28418830-detail/story.html)
My mum never even had time to pack me a bag as I left the hospital to go up country. I was put in an enviroment that would of made me even more anxious and depressed.
After spending the 4 weeks in the secure unit, It was January the 4th when I got my panel meeting after making an appeal against my section. A few hours of trying to convince the judging panel I was well enough, they finally allowed for me to be discharged. Even they didn't understand why I was there in the first place. My psychiatrists were doing the best they could to keep me there longer. How can physiciatrists think they know everything about me in a matter of weeks just going by a few documents? They didn't have a clue either.
Now that I was off section, I returned back to Cornwall. I spent the last two weeks at my sister's place as I wait patiently to attend my bail at the police station. These services obviously didn't do their job properly as they even held me on a children's ward at the hospital. If they had felt I was that much of a danger and a 'violent individual', why would I be allowed on a children's ward in the first place?
I attended court and received my consequence of my actions which were 9 months of working with the youth offending team. (presently, finished only 3 months ago) and of course I was allowed to live back at home again. I was thrilled that I could see my mum again after 3 whole months of no contact.
Now forwarding a year on from then, I am extremely happy that I'm now home for Christmas this year and that I can spend it with my family without anything getting in my way. This past year has flown by and I'm very proud to have come so far and acheive a lot of things in a year. This is my first ever Christmas without any blips or meltdowns! I can now say that everything has got a whole lot better and everything's finally on the up. Roll on Christmas 2017 in exactly 17 more days! I am so excited right now.