This is my first post as Dr Larry Arnold, yes I made it all the way through to the end, but not without a huge amount of anxiety on the way, so this post is about anxiety, anxiety and autism I suppose.
I would like to list the three greatest anxieties in my life, in order of the most troubling. This is not necessarily the way you might expect an autistic person to list them, but it is the way I do.
1. Financial worries.
3. Social concerns
Yes, as a card carrying, diagnosed and dumpster diving autistic, social concerns are only number three, but why?
Number one is my financial state, I think it always has been, but it has certainly got more precarious in the last decade or so, particularly as I have been accumulating debt as the consequence of pursuing a doctoral degree without the background of a lifetimes accumulation of savings from income.
In the current environment it has got worse as my income is getting smaller as a result of cuts to benefits, and even what I have is threatened. Bankruptcy is a real threat, being unable to meet the ongoing debt payments is a real threat. Any unexpected bill is a struggle to meet and it will only take a perfect storm of unwanted, but not necessarily unlikely events to bring that about. Why is it worse for me because of autism? Well that is simple, because I am at a severe disadvantage in the employment market, at 60 plus a doctoral degree is not going to help a great deal there, but hey, for better or worse I am a PhD now.
The second of my anxieties is health, again it is not to be supposed that this is something that diminishes as one ages. Indeed as I age it becomes more of a problem, and whilst this is the case for neurotypical folk as well, the difficulty in being autistic and poor is that I can neither afford those things that the health service will not provide for free, eg physiotherapy, or am I capable of negotiating a proper consideration of my overall needs with the NHS because of the third of those anxieties which I am coming to.
Covers a multitude of things but they are not threatening me as much as the two above, however they are part of the mix. I am anxious because I do not know how to deal with unruly neighbours, and I am anxious because of my responsibilites as chair of the allotment association having to deal with unruly meetings and a whole lot else besides.
These social anxieties may not be the most debilitating, but they certainly contribute to my difficulties in dealing with the other two.
What does it mean, well it ought to mean that people like me have some security in our lives, that our homes are not threatened, that our basic wants are not threatened, and indeed for all too many of us, our liberty itself is not threatened as the number of us that are detained under mental health provisions far from "home" is not insubstantial.
Give me a day tomorrow which was like the day today and that would be better than anything Omar Khayam can offer anyway, because that is the way I like it, that I can look out of my window on the same world and feel safe in tha.
Give me a fair chance to use my skills, but you don't do you, no not the employers, the law makers, the councillors and counsellors, and least of all the geezer on the number 10 buz.
Just realise that I have given as much as I am capable of to making this world a better place and to helping my fellow, so I think after that I do deserve a little consideration.