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Mental health problems

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      10.08.2013 00:35
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      Don't let depression ruin your life!

      My mental health problems all started when I was sixteen. I didn't want to get out of bed, didn't care what I looked like or anything. I just hid away in my bedroom for days on end. I went to see my then G.P. who gave me some antidepressants. The doctor put it down to me being bullied at school.

      I stayed on them until I was twenty one, I left home to move up north and felt great.
      I decided to come off the pills as I no longer needed them. Being contented in my life I got a job and felt settled. All was good.

      Forward a few years~
      I am twenty five and decide it's high time I came out and told my loved ones that I'm a lesbian. I was in a serious relationship with a women. I knew deep down in my heart it didn't help with how I had been feeling years previous as I was being someone I wasn't to please others around me.
      I told my mother (well she guessed), not at a very good time it was during a row; not the right moment no!
      She was not one bit happy for me neither was my Dad. They said no daughter of ours is one of them!
      I said I am not a disease I'm your daughter. They didn't speak to me for almost six months.

      I was then living with my then girlfriend who was twenty seven years my senior. I didn't realise until we eventually had our civil partnership that she was a certified Psychopath.
      The relationship became highly abusive and violent. I was being abused both psychical and mental. Then one day out of the blue she left me. No reason just left me. That was in 2009.

      Then in 2010 when I was thirty one I moved into a flat share with my best mate. Was going well for a time until I started feeling ill. I was getting very clingy seemed to lose interest in every day life. I would shower with my clothes on walk the streets in the night, cut myself and try to jump of bridges.

      People put it down to me fancying my mate cos she was in a relationship with a man I wanted her etc.
      It was the last thing ever on my mind. I was told I was seeking attention and all that malarkey. Belive me I wasn't seeking attention.
      .
      I eventually got referred to see a psychiatrist who said she thought I had traits of borderline personality Disorder. (see my review on this).
      It can get you at any time in your life and effect people who have been in abusive relationships.
      I was put on mood stabilisers and antidepressants.

      The illness drove a rift with my pal and I,her bloke left her as she couldn't cope with me, and was still convinced I wanted her. I never wanted her. I was ill. I was in and out of A and E after self harming and over dosing. Once i took thirty anti depressants and 15 mood stabilisers doctors at a and e where worried id harmed my liver, so tests where ran. All came back fine they aid I was very lucky.

      The stress took it's toll and my pal and I fell out and went our separate ways. I regret it deeply as she did her very best for me, I wish her well.I just wish I could put right all the wrongs I created and lay it to rest. I totally understand that she had to walk away, she had her own life to live,not have it revolving around me.
      Then now in 2013. I have seen another professional, they said I don't have Borer line Personality Disorder. I had a nervous breakdown and can be easily miss diagnosed because at the time i saw a trainee Psychiatrist who miss diagnosed me.

      At this present day I try to keep put of stressful situations. I no longer take any medication and feel really well. Life is for living and to be enjoyed the past is dead and and live for the moment, live for today.

      Too many cut backs in mental health. Not enough help out there. HELP YOURSELF, I DID! I brush myself off don't get down about it and just plod on and get on with it.
      I have turned my life around I have lots of friends keep myself busy. I don't live in my friends pockets they need their space I need mine. I like my own company these days. Although I now live with a mate I am never about, if she is out I'm in or vise versa, we have to make an appointment, lol. I belong to a choir, I'm out dating again had a relationship wasn't the right person for me but hey that is life.

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        02.08.2012 19:28
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        My story

        For some of you long term reviewers you may remember I was a regular on the site from 2009 until summer 2011 and then I disappeared before reappearing again this spring, this is the reason why...

        I am currently about halfway through writing my personal memoirs. Yes, I am only in my early 20's but the last eighteen months have been a life changing experience for me and therefore my book that focuses on my struggle with my mental health is being written for two reasons. The primary reason is so that if anybody else ever does get the opportunity to read it and they are experiencing anything similar I hope that I may be able to provide some assurance or support through my writing. The second reason is for myself. Now I am improving I think that it is important for me to be able to remember exactly what life was like for me this time last year and by writing my book I will always have something to remind me, ensuring that I never end up in that place again.

        ==How did it all begin?==
        I guess it all began in October 2008 when I got ill. It was a very stressful time for me and as a result of this I was desperate to get rid of the infection and never get it back again. Therefore, cleanliness was stepped up, not a level, not two levels, more like a mountain. Over the next few months it became worse and worse. I was washing my hands up to ten times an hour, more if I was preparing food or coming into contact with anything or anyone other than my personal belongings or myself. My skin began to peel off badly and my hands were very sore and cracked but as far as I was concerned, I needed to be clean. I didn't so much have the feeling that if I wasn't clean something bad would happen, more that if I didn't clean myself then I would be dirty and I would contaminate all my things and then when I was clean I would just get the bacteria back again from my belongings. If I hadn't washed my hands for ten minutes I would start to feel nervy and would have to go and wash them. Before eating I would wash my hands up to five times and I avoided eating with my hands (eg. pizza, sandwiches etc). During this time I experienced my first intrusive thoughts which concerned me. One weekend which I think was October I just kept getting the thought in my head that I was a horrible person and I had hurt someone in the past and forgotten about it, the more I worried about this and was upset by it, of course the worse it got. However, come Monday I went back to uni and getting back into my routine the thoughts weren't forgotten but were seriously reduced. I did have a few more weekends or weeks like this but nothing concerning enough for me to seek professional help.

        April 2011 was when the problems really began for me. I was coming close to the end of my third year at university and although I was due to return for a fourth year to get my PGCE in primary education, the third year was the ending of my course and therefore I had lots of assignments and presentations to do and of course that is without mentioning the dissertation. I thought I was coping fairly well and we had booked to go on holiday which I was really excited about as I had worked hard before going so I was going to have four entire days off to spend having fun with my family and chilling out. However, as soon as we checked in the thoughts started. This worried me and it made it worse that I was so desperate to enjoy my holiday. As the week progressed the thoughts were constant and I was really beginning to doubt myself and worry. I did say to my partner that I was worrying, I didn't tell him what about but he just told me to enjoy our holiday. I suppose looking back I should have spoken to him about how I was feeling but I felt like such a 'weirdo' and I was very concerned so I kept quiet.

        I thought that returning home would get me back to normal because I would back in my routine - busy with university, working, seeing my friends and of course my fiancé. However, the thoughts remained and were really beginning to upset me. By June I'd opened up to my sister, partner and best friend and although they all did their best to reassure me 'everyone gets silly thoughts sometimes', 'your making them worse by thinking them over and over', 'you're under a lot of stress at the moment', 'your only worried because of the fact that you know deep down you would never hurt anyone' and so on. I did appreciate having them to chat to but I was still going downhill quickly. The thoughts were constantly in my head and I was asking for reassurance from the three people I had confided in constantly.

        In July I was at work and got so worried about a task I had completed I insisted on taking it home, telling myself I would have to ask my mum to help. When I got back she'd gone out so I sat and waited, sobbing and worrying. I knew she would be supportive and try to help but what if she was angry I'd told other people before her? Even my sister knew and hadn't mentioned it to her (only because I'd begged her not to). I also think that nobody actually understood how bad it was. After eventually admitting to my mum I had a problem things got worse over the following couple of weeks to the point where I wouldn't see my best friend, I wouldn't use my laptop, I wouldn't go out the house, I just led on the sofa all day with my duvet.

        ==Seeking Help==
        I first sought help at the end of July 2011. I was sceptical about seeking help because I didn't want it to be on my medical records, I wanted to try and fight it myself or I knew it could affect the rest of my life. Thinking back about this it actually makes me laugh a little because I obviously had no idea what I was really like. I had a half an hour appointment booked with a GP at my surgery which I thought was a bit ridiculous - I didn't need half an hour. I made my mum write down all of my concerns to read out because there was no way I could speak to the doctor, what if I said something that wasn't true and it made me out to be a criminal? I'd get sent to prison... The doctor prescribed me some low dosage anxiety drugs which my auntie also takes, this calmed me a bit just by having them as my auntie has been very successful and has even been head of subject at a large secondary school.

        However, things didn't seem to get any better. Instead they got worse. I began seeing my GP once a week and did see a psychologist but only once because I found that the session wasn't beneficial for me and I felt that he was expecting too much from me. My GP had also told me that there was no way I could return back to university as I wouldn't have been able to do the course and she said that trying and failing would be more damaging to me than just leaving it for one year. She wrote to the university explaining the circumstances and asked if it was possible for me to defer a year. At this point in time I wasn't interested in doing it later but as she and my mum pointed out, if the option was there then I would always have it if I wanted to return. Despite her letter, they never replied so I assume that meant that no, they didn't want me back.

        I had my first appointment at the mental health hospital near my home in September. My GP had referred me to the psychiatrist there which I was very concerned about because I'd only ever really come across mental health in the media and people who saw psychiatrists were often portrayed as very ill and often also in a negative light. I was extremely nervous; my mum came with me as she had with every other appointment I had been to. I couldn't speak to the psychiatrist myself and instead my mum spoke to her with me occasionally putting a few details in. The doctor then went to confer with the consultant about my case. She was gone ages and I remember saying to my mum that they were going to keep me there, I was going to be sectioned and we should have stayed at home. She told me not to be silly but later she did admit that she too was feeling a bit nervy when she was gone for so long.

        The psychiatrist referred me to the clinical psychology section of the hospital and I had my first appointment in October. I was sceptical about this because of my session previously with a psychologist. My initial two appointments were with a clinical psychologist and a trainee and after that I was to be seen just by the trainee. This made me even more sceptical thinking that nobody was going to be able to help me, especially not a trainee (I'm not really a horrid person, honest!) By this point I had been officially diagnosed by the psychologists, my GP and the psychiatrist who concluded that I was suffering with generalised anxiety order with obsessive tendencies and depression. I saw my psychologist every fortnight to begin with and then weekly. By January I was able to attend sessions alone though initially this was very scary for me.

        Writing about my psychologist brings a tear to my eye which is absolutely silly I know but I'm so grateful to him, he turned my life around and he helped me change back into the person I was previously. As he was a trainee he left in April 2012 as it was the end of his placement and I was worried about this but he helped to give me the confidence to think that actually, yes I could continue my recovery on my own and I would succeed at this.

        After he left, my psychiatrist also decided now was the time for me to go it alone and then when I saw my GP she too said that I could probably be on my own now. Since then, I have seen my GP a few times because I now know the telltale signs of when I need some help. It sounds silly but just going to check in with her helps me get myself back on track as my medication has remained the same since late last year.

        Since April, I have started up my own eBay business, began a psychology degree with the Open University and got a kitten - three things that this time last year would have been out of the question. I am now able to go to the supermarket, drive places alone and see friends, all of which again would not have been possible previously. I'm not out of the woods so to speak, not yet but I am certainly getting there and I am proud of what I have achieved. Without my psychologist and my lovely GP I dread to think where I would be now and I am so grateful to them that words cannot describe it.

        ==What influence has GAD and Depression had on my life?==
        My life has changed a lot. Currently I am very much more like the original me than I was this time last year but to be entirely honest with you I don't think this is an illness that you can ever completely overcome. Don't get me wrong, of course you can vastly improve and live a normal life but I think there will always be a constant reminder of where you've been and how it felt.

        I can safely say that becoming ill did completely mess up my life - I was unable to return to university and therefore my dream career is not longer a reality but a distant dream, because I suffered with social anxiety I didn't contact any of my friends for almost a year (with exception to my best friend) so now I feel like a bit of a loner, I had to give up work because I was signed off sick so my partner has had to work 80 hour weeks just to pay the rent. And now, because of me being unemployed for the last year, nobody will even see me for interview despite me more than qualified for the positions applied for.

        However, I am lucky to be able to recognise that I can make this a positive aspect to my life if I try. My illness has changed my outlook on life. I am now dreaming of a career in psychology, something which I hope to achieve over the next few years. I feel that now I am also much more understanding of others. I have a close relative who suffers with bipolar disorder and our relationship broke down over the last few years because I just didn't understand them. Although we are not best friends again now, I am a little more understanding of them and less judgemental.

        I have good weeks and bad weeks. A few weeks ago I was feeling exceptionally dire so I knew it was time to return to my GP. I did this and after this session and a follow up one I was ready to go on my own again. Having this knowledge of myself and my emotions allows me to know when things are going downhill and to do something about it. By doing this it helps to prevent further problems for myself.

        However, despite seeing the potential positives this has had on my life, there are of course, negatives. I am very worried about the future and I am still unsure if I will ever feel in a stable enough mindset to have children which is devastating for me because a family is all I've ever wanted. I also worry a lot about when my life comes to an end and what will happen to me. I also worry about those around me who have died. I am very sensitive now and find myself crying most days just 'because'. I haven't had more than five hours sleep in months so I am constantly very tired. I find that I often see the negatives before the positives, for example with my new degree instead of instantly thinking wow I'm going to have my dream career, before this comes the expense that I cannot afford and the time it will take to get there. I am also extremely scared of relapsing in the future.

        ==If you are worried about yourself or someone else==
        From experience, here are a few ideas that can help people to recognise early signs of mental health illnesses, by thinking about these questions and noticing how you really feel, it could help somebody get help more quickly than I did:
        1). Have you noticed that you feel more anxious/sad recently?
        2). Do you cry for no reason?
        3). Do you wonder why you are here?
        4). Has your sleeping pattern changed?
        5). Has your appetite lessened or increased?
        6). Has your personal care regime changed?
        7). Are you feeling less like yourself?
        8). Do you have mood swings?
        9). Do you have up days and then down days?
        10). Are you splurging money?
        11). Are you drinking a lot?
        12). Are you trying to keep as busy as possible 'to forget'?
        13). Have your friends and family noticed any changes in you?
        14). Do you find yourself thinking things over and over?
        15). Is your concentration lacking?
        These are just a few questions that I have put together and are not a professional test; they are just things that I have experienced and therefore now recognise they were linked to my problems. Of course some of these are likely to occur at some point in everyones lives but if you notice them causing problems or all coming together it could be worth seeking some advice. If If you are at all worried about yourself or someone close to you then please see your GP who can advise you further.

        Here are a few tips I have picked up over the past year to help me to calm myself, ground myself and stay in control:
        For anxiety...
        1). When feeling anxious, take a deep breath in and then let it out in four smaller breaths, slowly and calmly.
        2). Shut your eyes and count to 10.
        3). Have a drink of water.
        4). Apply hand or foot cream (this gives a soothing and relaxing feel).
        5). Have a bath.
        6). Read a book.
        7). If worried about a task, put it down and come back to it later.
        8). Write lists.

        For depression...
        1). Write a list of everything you have achieved and stick it on the fridge, seeing this every day will help to remind you exactly what you have to be proud of.
        2). Keep a diary. Even if you don't want to talk to someone, writing a diary allows you to get your feelings and concerns out, you are then likely to feel calmer.
        3). Rate your days out of 10 or even 100, this way you can notice any gradual changes which allow you to seek help if needed.
        4). Do not isolate yourself, this will make things worse.
        5). Keep active. Exercise releases endorphins which help keep your serotonin levels stable.
        6). Eat plenty of foods which will help your brain chemical levels - eggs, green veg, low fat dairy, chicken and berries.
        These are just my own personal tips from my experience, they are not medical advice so I do urge you to seek medical help if you are feeling as though you are suffering with a mental illness.

        ==A few facts==
        * 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year
        * Mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain
        * Women are more likely to have been treated for a mental health problem than men
        * About 10% of children have a mental health problem at any one time
        * Depression affects 1 in 5 older people
        * Suicides rates show that British men are three times as likely to die by suicide than British women
        * Self-harm statistics for the UK show one of the highest rates in Europe: 400 per 100,000 population
        * Only 1 in 10 prisoners has no mental disorder
        (Mental Health Foundation)

        ==Help and support==
        There are a number of charities which are always on hand to talk and provide support for anyone suffering from mental health problems or friends and families of sufferers. Here are just a few:
        Mental Health Foundation:
        http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/
        Mind:
        0300 123 3393
        info@mind.org.uk
        http://www.mind.org.uk
        Samaritans:
        08457 909090

        ==Summary==
        If you're not asleep by now (I'm sorry it's so long, I tried to make it as short as I could without missing any important bits out!), thank you for reading my story. Mental illness is a difficult thing to come to terms with and social stigma is still rife in our country despite it being 2012. If you do experience mental health problems it is essential to remember that there is help and support to get you through hard times. And if any of you do want to talk about any concerns you may have or experiences then please do contact me, I'm not at all trained in any way to provide advice or support but I can listen with an understanding ear.

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          29.03.2012 23:05
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          Mental health problems do suck, but they aren't the end of the world :)

          Mental health problems are something of a taboo in society nowadays, even though 1 in 4 of us will be affected by them in some way. I am constantly surprised at the hostile air I receive every time I bring my mental health into conversation, even from closest friends and family. I guess as part of society, the media has conditioned us through newspaper articles and inaccurate TV shows that people with mental health problems are 'crazy' and 'dangerous', and to stay as far away as possible; that if we stop talking about it, the problem of mental health disorders will somehow disappear. As such, I am now more careful as to who I talk to about my mental health problems and how I approach the subject, something I greatly wish I didn't have to do, and am in the process of trying to change, so that we can all talk freely about our mental health. I do believe once this is achieved, our mental health and our attitudes towards it will greatly improve.

          My situation began when I was only 15, struck down in the prime of my GCSE's by a condition called psychosis. This may sound like a scary word, and god knows when I was diagnosed, I was scared of my own diagnosis, but I assure you, it is nothing to fear. Psychosis is a condition in which the sufferer loses some contact with reality, characterised by hallucinations, delusions, strange emotional reactions and cognitive difficulties.

          *What are the symptoms?*

          My symptoms were divided into positive, negative and cognitive. The positive (but by no means 'good') symptoms I experienced were things like hallucinations, and these took any form from hearing voices to seeing things that aren't there in reality. The second positive symptom I experienced was delusions. These are fixed false beliefs which are held despite evidence to the contrary and are not within cultural normality. In my case, I believed the neighbours were spying on me, that people could read my thoughts, that my teachers were evil, and that people were figuring out the best way to harm me. Obviously, this had a massive impact on my life. I wouldn't go out for fear of being harmed, and I refused to comply with my 'evil' teachers.

          The negative symptoms one experiences include things such as a lack of motivation, restrictions in the range and intensity of emotions, the inability to experience joy or pleasure from activities and a lack of goal directed behaviour. Cognitive symptoms include reduced concentration, bad short term memory, and restrictions in processing and retaining information.

          I would get so frustrated at the fact that I couldn't think at school, and in response my grades started to drop dramatically. My teachers would quickly become fed up with me as they believed I wasn't trying hard enough, but that was as far from the truth as they could get. In fact I was trying harder than I ever had done before, but my brain felt like a thick milkshake and I couldn't remember any new material we'd learnt.

          *What can be done?*
          I saw my doctor after being diagnosed, and she explained the first port of call was drugs, known as antipsychotics, and put me on one called Abilify (aripiprazole). Usually, antipsychotic medicines will work wonders for most people, reducing and sometimes abolishing their symptoms so they can return to their normal level of functioning, however for me, I needed a little extra oomph. As such, my doctor then put me on an antidepressant, which mainly helps with the negative and cognitive symptoms. So with two drugs coursing though my system, it was no wonder I got some nasty side effects. These included nausea, drowsiness and weight gain, and thankfully they went away within a couple of weeks and with some (very vigorous!) exercise.

          Cognitive behavioural therapy is often used alongside medicine for first episode psychosis, and helps by identifying the vicious cycles that we all have to some extent, and intervening to change either the thoughts or behaviour and turning them into something positive, and also normalising distressing experiences. My therapist used a little bit or mindfulness also, which helps us perceive our thoughts as merely thoughts, nothing more, nothing less and very much helps with intrusive thoughts.

          *Summary*
          I hope in the future mental health can be talked about more freely, as it is so common. For me, a combination or drugs, family support and therapy helped me overcome my mental health problems, and I hope everybody else suffering can do the same. God bless you all xx

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            16.02.2008 18:26
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            Basically a circular thinking trap

            Depression is a downward spiralling series of psychological thinking traps that lead you further down the line and begin to depress you even more. You begin to listen more to your own interior dialogue which seems to constantly throw negative suggestions at you. This has developed from your own consistent negative experiences which in turn have made you believe that there is so much negativity in the world that you have trained yourself to think in a negative way. You may then belive that you are thinking too much or that your mind is going into overtime which leads you into becoming even further depressed. Of course there is a lot more depression than just this and people often find themselves trapped within a situation or under circumstances which they have no control over that made them depressed in the first place.

            By practising certain techniques over a long period of time and on a regular basis you can help yourself to overcome your depression or at least, deal with it better. One simple but very effective technique is to be aware that your interior dialogue is performing this function routinely then responding to it with opposition. If you find yourself thinking 'I hate life' respond with no, I don't hate life, it's just my mind on autopilot. An adequate response would then be to tell your mind to 'shut the f*ck up!' This may seem so simple and basic in plot but it really does work.

            Any doctor will explain to you that depression is a chemical imbalance in your brain due to reduced levels of serotonin, which is the chemical produced when you feel happy. Most doctors will also prescribe antidepressants which are potentially lethal just to follow their standard method of practise and routine treatment. These drugs are physically addictive and in the long run you will just have caused yourself another problem to get depressed about; your addiction. They also tend to make you feel very irritated and some people experience very severe side effects.

            Since the chemical levels in our brain are affected throughout each day by our experiences, eating habits and health it is down to natural negative experiences that these changes have occurred. Therefore, the best way to reverse the effect is to try and keep focused on and experience things that make you happy, talk about things that make you respond with good emotions and try to do it for a long period of time.

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              06.01.2007 12:44
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              I am proud to be classed as an Aspie & once you gain confidence you will excel in life!

              I would like to share my story of my experience with Aspergers Syndrome, so you have a better understanding about the condition. It started after I bought a brand new car in March 2004, which was a Seat Cordoba SE TDI which I saved up for since starting work in September 1999. I bought the car over the Internet from a car dealer in Leicester; the car dealer phoned me up and was very pushy to clinch a deal with me which I did not like very much.

              At the time I did not know I had asperger syndrome, I felt I was put under pressure and got anxieties over it, and ended up closing a deal over the phone but was not happy that I bought the car of him. I live in Birmingham and was happy to buy the car from a local dealer but it was too late as I had put a deposit down of £500 and would not get a refund from garage in Leicester.

              My New Car:

              I decided to buy a brand new car in March 2004, a SEAT Cordoba SE TDI that I had saved up for since starting work in September 1999. I bought the car over the Internet from a car dealer in Leicester; the car dealer phoned me up and was very pushy to clinch a deal with me that I did not like very much as I felt I was being forced into buying the car that I had not even seen. At the time I found it hard to say no thank you to the sales man over the phone or could have said can I have some time to think it over before I committed myself totally.

              At the time I did not know that I had Asperger syndrome, I felt I was put under pressure and got anxieties over it, and ended up closing a deal over the phone and was not happy that I bought the car from the dealer in Leicester. I live in Birmingham and was happy to buy the car from a local dealer but it was too late as I had put a deposit down of £500 and would not get a refund from the garage in Leicester. I could not get it out of my mind and felt helpless and useless and started to worry and panic; would I be able to find the Garage as I never driven to Leicester before and might not even like the car as I only seen a SEAT Cordoba online and not even had a test drive.

              One of the reasons for buying a car online rather then going to a local car garage was because I was worried about having to do a test drive with the sales man or women beside would have made me feel nervous and intimidating having a stranger watching me drive. Things that went through my mind were things like would I stall the car or even worse case scenario crash the car as I was not use o driving a 6 speed gear box as my old car only had 4 gears. All these thoughts that went through my mind and was affecting me mentally and had butterflies going through my stomach and a tight chest due to high anxiety levels.

              On the 9th March 2004 the car was ready to be picked up from Leicester and went on my own to the garage. All my family were either busy or away on holiday so could not go with anyone that I would have preferred. When I arrived in Leicester I could not find the garage as expected and got in a right panic over it. I did find the garage after asking several people and had sweaty palms caused by anxiety and panic. When I arrived at the garage I felt physically sick and was an emotional wreck and could feel heart pounding as I was parking up my Rover Metro Clubman that was my very 1st car and was sad knowing I will never see it again. My Metro Clubman was beige in colour and was 1st registered on the road in March 1990 and was 14 years old when I decided I needed a new car as it was a rust bucket and was falling apart and was getting too expensive to maintain. I did well to get 6 years out of the car and knew the only place it was ending up at was the crusher in a scrap metal yard.

              I walked towards the showroom and met the salesman who I disliked straight away as all he cared about is getting the remaining money off me as he will be getting commission for every car he sells, as expected he came across as very cocky and arrogant, sales people in general only think about how they can make money and are fake pretending to be friendly towards their customers, when all they are interested in is taking a large chunk out of peoples hard earned savings. I am not saying that all sales people are nasty people as I am sure there are many genuine sales people out there that are not just there to make money out of each sale.

              I had saved up hard since starting work in September 1999 and paid the car off fully. At least I did not have take out a large loan as many people do with high interest to pay back. I was very lucky and still lived at home with my parents and did not have a mortgage and not too many direct debits so could save up a large amount of money in a mini ISA account with Nationwide Building Society who I have been a loyal customer with since 1979 when my parents opened my 1st savings account on my behalf when I was only a few months old. My saving account balance was now a very small amount and regretted spending around 80% of my savings just on a car. This upset me a lot as I should have been a lot wiser and kept the money to pay a deposit towards my own flat. I should have brought a 2nd hand car at half the price I paid for the brand new SEAT Cordoba. This added towards my anxiety levels even more and I started to feel depressed about the whole process of buying a car that I did not even like.

              When I pulled out of garage I stalled the car several times which made my anxiety even worse because I was not use to driving a powerful car. The car I had before was a 1990 Austin Metro Clubman and only had a 1 litre engine, the new car had a 1.9TDI engine. In the end I got use to driving it and drove over 400miles in the first week visiting my 2 Sisters in Nottinghamshire and Suffolk.

              The first thing I disliked when I bought the car was the number plate, it was registered in the East Midlands region and began with the letter F, which I disliked a lot and wanted a number plate from the Worcestershire region , Worcestershire number plates begins with letter V. Because I suffer from Asperger syndrome I was very upset about it as this was the most important part of the car and meant a lot to me. Also I was not very happy with the car model I chose was a saloon and not hatchback, so cannot remove the boot cover and also disliked the car shape and colour that was a light metallic blue. Should have chosen the colour black that's a colour I preferred.

              If I had a choice of where I could have brought the car from I would have got it from a SEAT Dealer situated in the Spa Town of Droitwich that's is a Town that I have always liked since my early teens located in north Worcestershire a County that I always liked and is only 20 minutes drive down the M5 motorway from where in Harborne that's located on the south west side of the City close to the M5 Motorways off junction 3 and Droitwich is only 2 junctions down the M5 off junction 5. People that are not on the autistic spectrum or do not have much knowledge about Autism and Asperger syndrome in general would think I am being silly not liking the car registration number because I did not like the region where I purchased the car from.

              I am sure others with Asperger syndrome can understand how I felt during the time I purchased the car and will not think its silly to get upset about a number plate as many people that are on the autistic spectrum have a fascination with number plates. I am very good at memorising car number plates and can still remember all the car number plates as far back as I remember in the early 80s as a young child with all the cars my parents have purchased over the years. I like to look at car number plates and I know straight away what County of the UK the car cars from and how old it is.

              The main thing that kept coming into my head was the car number plate, it hassled, me a lot and could not get it out of my head and started losing sleep over it. When I was at work I kept thinking about it and could not do my job to my full potential. I thought to myself this is silly it's only a number plate pull yourself together. My work colleagues noticed a change in me after I brought my car and could not tell them it was the number plate that was upsetting me as they would think I was being silly. I was going on a holiday to Devon for a week and had booked a week off work and thought this might help me overcome my anxiety - this was the beginning of my nightmare journey.

              Holiday In Devon:

              My Aunt came over for a few weeks to the UK from Venezuela in April 2004, who is my Mums Sister, we decided to go to Dartmoor for 5 days with my Mum, Dad and my Aunt. I wanted to drive them down there which takes around 3 hours from Birmingham to a Village called Belstone that's located on the edge of Dartmoor National Park and is very pictures Village and have been going there since early childhood as my Dad grow up as a child in Belstone and is close to the Historic Saxon Town Okehampton.

              On the way down to Belstone I was driving at the national speed limit of 70 mph down the M5 motorway the main hub to the West Country region. We passed Bristol and was driving along the County of Somerset and I could see a caravan in the distance and suddenly noticed the caravan started to wobble slightly and then it started to gather momentum and shook violently and was snaking across two lanes and then there was all mayhem when the caravan turned over and there was debris all over the motorway.

              I managed to avoid the out of control caravan and slowed down in time and did not break suddenly as I would cause a pile up and put my back hazards lights on to warn other drivers to slow right down and take care. This incident was very scary and felt a bit shook up as I was not too far behind the caravan and if I was 200 yards further down the motorway god knows what could have happened and not worth thinking about and was very lucky that I made no contact with the overturned caravan.

              We all stayed in a very nice Bed and Breakfast on the edge of Belstone and were having a really good time until the final night. The last night we visited my Dad's Cousin in a Village called Chagford not far from Belstone as we were invited for an evening meal and had a great time with my Dad's Cousin. We left my Dad's Cousins house and headed back to the Bed and Breakfast, when we arrived we all decided to go to bed, so got ready for bed and when I was ready to go to sleep I turned off the bedside lamp. I made the big mistake of having coffee after the meal as I find that caffeine keeps me wide awake if I drink coffee in the evening after 6pm.

              I could not settle down at all I was just lying down in bed hoping I would fall asleep soon, hours passed by and still could not get to sleep and by 6:00am I still could not sleep and had to be up in 2 hours for breakfast. Two hours passed and still did not sleep so went down for breakfast feeling really awful as I had not slept all night and had to drive 180 miles back to Birmingham. I did not feel up to it and had no choice as I was the only person insured to drive my car. I drove back to Birmingham but felt terrible and went straight to bed to catch up on some sleep but still could not get to sleep. I decided to get up and go to bed in the evening and I would fall asleep straight away. I went to bed that evening thinking I would sleep well after my bad night and still could not get to sleep and was wide awake still at 3:00am and still have not had so had a 2nd night with no sleep and felt worse then ever.

              Visit to Sisters House:

              I went to My Sisters house in Suffolk for the weekend with my Mum, Dad and Aunt because they did not want to leave me alone in the house. We arrived after a 3 hour car journey and at the time I was having knee problems with both knees and could not run after stupidly giving my sister a piggy back after drinking too many pints of Stella that has a higher percentage alcohol then your average lager and I only managed to carry my sister a few yards down the street and fell over onto my right knee that took most of the impact and the next morning had a bruised painful swollen right knee. Since that fall I could no longer run and walked around with a slight limp.

              We went for a walk around where my sister lived and found I could suddenly walk properly again and could also run for the first time for over 6 months. I did not show I was happy that I was able to walk properly and run again as I felt too depressed and anxious to feel happy and relived that my knee problem has sorted it self out. I was seeing a knee specialist at the time and the next step may have been keyhole surgery on my right knee to have a proper look inside my knee.

              Visit to Doctor:

              I was still feeling too tired to go to work and had no motivation and was still having bad nights with no sleep or very little and stayed in bed all day and did not want to get up at all and this was the start of my breakdown as I would never normally take sick leave off work and only had 3 days off sick during the 4 and half years prior to my breakdown. My Mum visited my Line Manager as she was very worried about me missing out work and thankfully he was very understanding and supportive about my situation and said to only come back when I am feeling 100% better again.

              I did actually go with my Mum in her car to the Greenkeeping Department on the Golf Course and remember my Line Manager known as the Head Greenkeeper coming up to the car as I did not want to come out of the car and face the other Greens Staff and I felt ashamed to see them all by being absent from work. I just sat in the passenger seat and my Line Manager wanted to talk to me and I pretended he was not there and made no eye contact with him or spoke as I felt too ashamed and embarrassed to talk to him and look him in the eye. I am ok usually looking into people's eye and knew it was rude of me not to take any notice of him and he could see I was not myself and was emotionally unstable.

              I now had over 5 days off work sick so needed a sick note from my GP to sign me off as you can only have 5 days sick leave before you need a sick note from your GP. My Mum booked an appointment for me with a GP I had never seen before as my regular GP was fully booked and my appointment was an emergency and needed an appointment ASAP as my family were very concerned about the state of my mental health and wellbeing. I started moan during the night and my Mum had to sit beside me by my bed to calm me down and comfort me which is not what a you expect from a 25 year old adult to rely on my Mum in the night for comfort and support. This would have been acceptable behaviour for a young child to get comforted by their Mum during the night but not great if you are an adult in your mid 20s and did feel ashamed and embarrassed about the whole situation.

              I was not at all looking forward seeing the GP I had never met before and did not know what to say to her that made me even more stressed out with a higher anxiety levels. What was I going to say to her once I was called in as she might think I am being silly and stupid being upset about a car purchase and its number plate and had no idea how to go about telling her the reason why I was depressed. I arrived at my local Medical Centre and did not have to wait long before I was called in via intercom. I went into the room on my own while my Mum waited outside and did not know how to go about telling her why I was so depressed and ended up telling her I was having problems sleeping after buying a brand new car. She said to try some anti histamine tablets that can make you feel drowsy that may help me get a decent nights sleep.

              The anti histamine tablets my GP advised to take did not help me settle down to get to sleep and even tried Nytol a natural mild sedative. I was now feeling worse then ever and did not help when my Mum started to get depressed her self about my situation and booked another appointment with a GP that knows me very well as I have been seeing him since I was a child when he became a fully qualified GP. I still felt embarrassed about telling him the reason why I was depressed was due to a car number plate. My Mum came with me to see my GP and said she was very worried about my mental state of health and did not have to say very much as she did most of the talking for me. I did feel embarrassed that my Mum had to come with me as I am old enough to speak up and would be ok if I was still a child.

              My GP decided to put me on a course of anti depressants and referred me to see a Psychiatrist who is more use to dealing with adults with depression. My Mum was more happy about the outcome of the appointment and was going to get the help and support I needed to try and get me out of the depression I was in. I was really dreading my appointment with the Psychiatrist that made me feel even more depressed as at that time I always got the impression that seeing a Psychiatrist was for mad people who needed locking up in a Psychiatric Hospital and may well end up in one myself.

              My Lawnmower:

              Another thing that also led to my breakdown was the weekend after coming back from Devon I decided to cut my neighbours lawn even though I felt dreadful as I did not want to let my neighbour down and wanted to give it a go as it might take my mind away from the car sale. I had been cutting my neighbour's lawn on a weekly basis for over 8 years before I had my breakdown and enjoyed doing it every Saturday during March to October and got some pocket money of £5.00.

              I was obsessed from early childhood with petrol cylinder mowers and watched my Dad cut the grass and was fascinated by the whole process with the sound of the engine and loved the combined smell of the exhaust fumes and freshly mown grass. Cylinder mowers give the best quality cut and the more cylinder blades the better quality cut and can range from 5 blades to 12 blades. I soon took over my Dad's Job of cutting the lawn when we moved house in 1989 and was 11 when I started mowing for the 1st time in Spring1990 as we moved house in late October 1989 when the grass no longer needed mowing. A cylinder mower has a roller that leaves a dark and light strip when mowing up and down and looks fantastic when the lawn has been cut and can see the light and dark strips on the lawn. No matter what the ground conditions were like I had to mow the lawn once a week every Saturday morning even if the grass had not grown much in a week I would still cut the lawn. I would say it was regimental obsession from age 11 to 25 and would look after my pride and joy the Qualcast Suffolk Punch 35DL Cylinder petrol lawnmower and would keep it spotless and oil and grease it after cutting the lawn. No one else was allowed to use my cylinder mower and would mow when I was sick with flu that was not my cylinder mower as my Dad paid for it so technically he was the rightful owner.

              I wanted to start up the Qualcast Suffolk Punch 35DL cylinder lawnmower and the engine did not kick in. I did a standard routine check that I have done in the past to get it working but had no success and still did not work. My Mum and Dad took the mower to be repaired and came back with a brand new Qualcast petrol cylinder lawnmower as they both decided it was too expensive to get it repaired.

              I was very sad that they got rid of my Qualcast Suffolk Punch 35DL petrol cylinder lawnmower without consulting me 1st and did not like the new Qualcast petrol cylinder lawnmower at all. I did my best not to show my parents I disliked the new Qualcast cylinder lawnmower as they had just spent a spent over £400 and would be very selfish and rude of me to tell them I do not like the new Qualcast petrol cylinder lawnmower. I could not hide my disappointment and told them that they should have got the old Qualcast Suffolk Punch 35DL petrol cylinder lawnmower repaired.

              I did not intend to be rude to my parents and will find this often happens to people on the autistic spectrum we say what we think even if it could upset the other person. If I was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome during my childhood my parents would have asked me 1st if they can buy a new brand new Qualcast petrol cylinder lawnmower as I did not like changes during that time and was very sad knowing that I would never see my Qualcast Suffolk Punch 35DL petrol cylinder lawnmower ever again. I now know that this is very common among people on the autistic spectrum not like any changes to their routines and have to know well in advance any changes such as purchasing a new lawnmower that I had to go through.

              I have now learned when it is best not to say anything that may upset the other person. It did not help at the time that I was going through a nervous breakdown and was not thinking straight at the time and now realise that I should have been more grateful towards my parents when they purchased the brand new Qualcast petrol cylinder lawnmower.

              A modern cylinder lawnmower craftsmanship is not as good as the older cylinder lawnmowers up to the mid 90s. The new cylinder lawnmowers looks flimsy with too much plastic covering and hated the clutch handle system as you could not leave the engine running while emptying the grass box as I could with the Qualcast Suffolk Punch 35DL petrol cylinder lawnmower and was made from metal apart from the grass box. The new Qualcast petrol cylinder lawnmower had what's called a dead mans handle so could not leave the engine running while emptying the grass box or picking up stones or twigs off the lawn. Each time you let go of the handle the engine cuts out which is a health safety feature which I suppose is a good thing but I could not accept this as I like to leave the engine on low revs when emptying the grass box.

              Just like I hated the car and number plate I disliked the Qualcast petrol cylinder lawnmower and no longer wanted to carry on mowing and was the last time I mowed until March 2006. I had no motivation at all and could not go out into the back garden all summer as I felt ashamed in case my next door neighbour saw me as I could no longer mow his lawn.

              After I recovered from my breakdown I purchase the same type of lawn mower off Ebay. It was another Qualcast Suffolk Punch 35DL petrol cylinder lawnmower for £70 from an Ebayers house in Derbyshire as I insisted on having the same lawnmower I was always used to. My Mum and I picked up the Qualcast Suffolk Punch 35DL petrol cylinder lawnmower and the condition of the mower was in a poor state and looked better on the picture then it did when I actually saw the mower. It is a risk you take when buying on Ebay and did agree buying the mower for £70 and did not like to say to the owner that I no longer want the mower as she may have given me a negative feedback. I am fairly certain they got a friend of theirs to compete with my bids during the auction to raise the final price.

              We arrived back at my Mums House with the Qualcast Suffolk Punch 35DL petrol cylinder lawnmower and just as my Mum braked to pull into the drive a car crashed into the back of her car and was the other driver fault who did not see that my Mum was breaking. This would never have happened if I did not insist on having the exact model I had before. I can now see the funny side to the accident as no one was hurt and all because I wanted a certain type one specific lawnmower my beloved Qualcast Suffolk Punch 35DL cylinder lawnmower.

              The recently purchased Qualcast Suffolk Punch 35DL petrol cylinder lawnmower was using a lot of oil and the cylinder blades were blunt and could not get them sharp again. The mower only last one season and decided to give it to the scrap metal man when he passed my Mums house as it was using too much oil as it had a fault so had a faulty engine. It was a waste of £70 and the people that sold it must have thought I was crazy to buy such a clamped out mower that as the only place for it was at a scrap merchant's yard and sure they had a good laugh behind my back and can't say I blame them.

              Visit to psychiatrist:

              The Psychiatric Centre was down the same road from my parent's house so I'd not have to walk far to get to the Centre. I went over with my Mum and was decided it would be better if I went alone when seeing the Psychiatrist when I was called in to see him. I was in a terrible state and couldn't answer the questions he asked me and found certain questions very personal and felt he had no right to ask me sexual questions that should be kept personal and private like do I masturbate as it is none of his business to ask me these type of questions that upset me even more and made me feel a lot worse rather then better.

              I did not answer any of the questions he asked me as I felt too stressed out and emotional and nearly cried in front of him and could not take anymore so walked out and left the Psychiatrist on his own half way through the appointment. I came back home very upset and broke down in tears in front of my Mum and felt worse then I had before I saw him. I felt really embarrassed crying in front of my Mum as I was a fully grown adult and it is not normal for men to cry. I have always been told it good to cry and not to bottle it in as it is a good way to release stress and anxiety and nothing wrong if men want to have a cry.

              My Mum went straight back to see the Psychiatrist who saw me to see what he thinks needs to happen next. I was given a higher dosage of antidepressant that did not make me feel any better and referred me to see another Psychiatrist that deals with people with learning difficulties and Autism that I felt was strange at the time as I knew nothing about Asperger syndrome.

              The weeks passed by and I still was not getting any better in fact was getting worse, I did not shower or brush my teeth or change my clothes so started to smell badly which I did not notice myself at the time but other people did around me. I was in a deep depression and did not care about looking after myself as I had previously done before my breakdown. I am usually a very clean person and have a shower daily and brush my teeth twice a day. I spent most of the time in my bedroom not doing very much as I felt I was in a safer environment as I did not want to mix with my family who were very supportive and could only help me slightly as I did not want to cooperate with there suggestions as I felt too depressed to do what they had recommended like brushing my teeth and taking a shower. I just wanted to be left alone in my bedroom and have nothing to do with anyone that only made my depression worse as it would have been better to share my feeling and frustrations I was going through at the time with my family.

              Asperger syndrome Diagnoses!

              During July 2004 I went to see a Psychiatrist who deals with children and teenagers as she was the only Psychologist in the West Midlands region at the time that specialised in Autism and they made an exception to see me as an adult. I knew nothing about Asperger syndrome and thought I was going be seeing the wrong type of Psychiatrist as I thought I was not autistic as I could look after myself properly before my break down and knew nothing at the time about high functioning autism. My view at the time on autism was the low functioning form of autism when a person cannot look after themselves and cannot talk and express their feelings and emotions and need 24/7 help and support.

              I went to see the Psychiatrist, with my Mum and Dad who saw a very nice Asian Psychiatrist who approached me with respect and dignity and made me feel at ease and did not start asking too many questions in one go that I found was too much to take in one go with the 1st Psychologist I saw. This is a classic example for people on the Autistic spectrum often find themselves in as we are more inclined to process and take in information at a slower pace then a person without autism. We have a slight delay in our brain when gathering in information and if we get overloaded with too much information in one go find it harder to process and may get agitated and moody as we are frustrated that what was just said to us we cannot fully understand it properly due to a time delay in our brain

              I will give you my example of how our brain gets over loaded with too much information to take in one go. Anyone that is use to using computers will sometimes notice that when you click too many times on your mouse or keypad on an icon it will take longer for the page to come up. The egg timer symbol that pops up when clicking on an icon can sometime take time to disappear off the screen and if you keep clicking on with your mouse it slows down the whole computers memory or can even freeze up the whole screen and then have to wait ages for your computer to go back to normal speed again. Same applies when with an autistic brain if we get overloaded with too much information in one go we cannot take in what has just been said and may come across and not listening to what the person has just said as it can take us a few seconds longer to respond back. If you wait for a few seconds for the egg timer symbol to disappear on your computer screen it will not slow down the computer or freeze up the screen. If you are patient and wait those extra few seconds or minutes to egg timer symbol has disappeared then you will get a quicker response from the computers hard drive. Same applies to an Autistic brain overload over our brains we will take longer to respond back or have a freeze and not respond at all and then more at risk of having a meltdown.

              I felt straight away comfortable with her as she was very nice towards me and liked her better then the 1st Psychiatrist I saw. She made me feel at ease and relaxed and was less tensed and stressed out then when I saw the 1st Psychiatrist who in my view did not deal with my situation very well. At the time the Psychiatrist I saw usually deals with autistic children and not adults and had no other choice as she was the only qualified Psychiatrist for patients with high functioning autism in the West Midlands region at the time which is very poor for the 2nd largest City in the UK that's thankfully improved since 2004.

              I was asked questions about my childhood, was I bullied, did I have many friends, and did I have any obsessions. I told her I was verbally bullied at School and had to leave one School because of the bullying. I did make some friends at the schools I went to and tried my best to make new friends but was a challenge for me. I was very shy and reserved that bullies picked up on this who teased me daily that made me feel depressed and useless. The Teachers thought I was being lazy in the classroom by not putting enough effort into my subjects and came across as a dreamer. I also said I don't have any friends at that time of seeing her and found it hard to make friends. It did not take long for her to diagnose me with Asperger syndrome, I was 25 at that time and gave me some new medication to take and saw her again several times during the next few weeks. It was the 1st time I knew about Asperger syndrome and had no knowledge about the condition and was explained very well by the Psychiatrist and got on well together unlike the 1st Psychiatrist I saw down the road from my parent's house who was not very understanding with Asperger syndrome when I saw him.

              I did not like being told I have high functioning autism which I know is far better then low functioning autism as I never been keen on the term autism that many people with Asperger syndrome seem to accept. I like to be known as an Aspie rather then saying I have autism that many people with Asperger syndrome seem to use when they tell others about their condition. Autism is a strong word to use and think that another word should be used instead for people that are high functioning. People are going to disagree with me reading this that's fair enough as technically Asperger syndrome is a form of autism. I do not like to mention the word autism when I tell people I have Asperger syndrome as it gives the wrong impression as most people think about autism on the low functioning spectrum. Before I was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome I always thought people that are autistic rely on others to help them out with everyday things that people take for granted. Many people that have Asperger syndrome live a normal life by holding a full time job, drive and live independently in their own house or flat and often find a partner and get married and have children. By saying they are autistic gives a false impression when the person is fully capable of looking after themselves and feel that Aspie is a more appropriate word rather then saying we have autism. Another term that's commonly used among adults with high functioning autism is the term Aspergian and Aspies is the shortened abbreviation of Aspergians. I still prefer to use the term Aspie that is now more commonly used among Aspies Worldwide rather then saying I am autistic.

              Driving my car:

              I lost all my confidence driving my new car and got into a panic each time I sat at the wheel. I did not drive my car again till October 2004 and was a mistake that I was allowed to drive as I was in not fit state to drive my car as I was still depressed and not thinking straight and is just as bad as driving a car under the influence of drugs and alcohol and is a killing machine in the wrong hands and could have run someone over and killed them and would have got a lengthy jail sentence for man slaughter.

              After 6 months I drove my car for the 1st time since the start of my breakdown and could drive it without too many problems as I still had panic attacks before I drove. I drove to see the Psychiatrist in my car with my Mum and on the way there I almost crashed into a car that stopped at red traffic lights and braked just in time, they guy was very upset when he stepped out his car and can understand why as he was shocked at the way I was driving asked me if I have a full driving license and felt that he should report me to the Police and if he did it was pointless as there was no damage his car so couldn't report me and have to admit I was very lucky and was within a few millimetres within hitting his rear bumper and when he pulled his car forward he had a good look at his rear bumper to see if he could spot any damage.

              This incident upset me and lost confidence again in driving for nearly crashing my car as my heart rate increased and started to become hot and flustered when the incident happened as the driver I nearly crashed into had a right go at me and was a business man in a suite and was lucky that I managed not to crash into his car as there was no damage. I now fully understand why he was upset as I could have damaged his car badly and he was annoyed with my driving skills. I am usually a safe driver, in my opinion I should not have been allowed to drive during my mental breakdown and while under medication as it just as bad as drink driving.

              A few weeks later I nearly had another car crash outside my Parents house that runs along a busy main road that leads to the M5 and M6 motorways and was rush hour when I had to pull out when there was a safe gap. I pulled out at the wrong moment and the driver in the other car blow her horn and stuck her fingers up at me and could see she was shouting out swear words at me. This really upset me and felt road rage coming on myself and felt like stopping my car in front of her and start smashing up her car and even felt like hitting her but thankfully my sister and brother were in the car with me so calmed me down. I would never normally think about hitting other people or damaging their cars but at the time I was mentally unstable I did not know what I was doing. The best thing at the time was not to let me drive and think my family was worried I might have violent outburst if they would not let me drive my car.

              It was so out of character for me to be so aggressive towards other people and would never cross my mind after I fully recovered from my breakdown. I can understand why the other driver got upset but she did not have to stick her fingers up at me. I myself started shouting and swearing in my car that can't have been nice for my brother and sister at the time as I was so upset at the way she reacted.

              I drove to my Sister's House 10 miles from the Hostel I was staying at, when I arrived I went straight out of car and rang my Sisters doorbell she answered and went into house and was not in a good mood at the time so went straight outside again to get back into my car that had gone from where I parked it. I looked down the road my car was about 100yards down the road that had crashed into another parked car so went down the road and drove away without saying anything. I forgot to put the handbrake on and my car rolled down the road smashing into another car. I started to panic and my heart rate increased and had a tight chest and was in a panic and instead of telling my sister about the crash or knocking on the nearest house door I panicked and drove away from the scene of the accident.

              When I got back to the Hostel I phoned my Sisters and told her that I had crashed the car on her road as I now felt guilty driving away from an accident and was worried that the owner of the car I crashed into might have seen me drive away and written down my number plate to report to me the Police. My Sister went to see the owners of the car and told them about the condition I was in and thankfully they knew someone with Asperger syndrome, so knew what I was going through. I ended up paying for the damage to his car through my Insurance Company; I had no claims protection so my next car insurance premiums did not get affected. A witness saw me drive off after the accident and was going to call the Police and thankfully my sister sorted the whole thing out.

              This was my only car crash and was not even driving at the time and been told that I am a very good and safe driver so the incident I had during my breakdown was down to my mental frame of mind and was unfit to be behind the wheel. I enjoy driving and class myself as a good driver and really should not have been driving a car during my breakdown as I nearly had 2 accidents and had one crash that did not happen after recovering from my breakdown apart from reversing into a bollard that was out of my view at the time and was dark that can happen to any driver. Many drivers have reverse sensors fitted in their car that bleeps if you go near a solid object that would have come in handy when I reversed into the bollard.

              Going in to Deeper Depression::

              During September 2004 I was still not going outside and kept on staying in bed for most of the day and towards the end of the month I went out more with my Mum shopping and walking and seeing my Psychiatrist who was very helpful and nice to me. By October my Psychiatrist wanted to get me back to work part time to start off with and gradually go back to full time over a period of a few weeks. My Psychiatrist contacted the Secretary of the Club to get a return date to work. I did not feel I was ready to go back to work again as I was still feeling depressed and would hate my work colleagues to see me in such a bad state and would be better off not going back to work. The inside of my head felt scrambled and felt like I was not the usual Nick Clarke that people know me as. No matter how hard I tried to overcome my depression it did not work and felt dreadful and very depressed and angry that I was not getting any better.

              The Golf Club would not allow me to work part time to begin with as recommended by Psychiatrist (they should have taken her advice) so had no option but to go back full time and was not given a start date to go back to work full time straight away so began to get anxiety's again because I wanted to know that date I would be returning to work and began to get restless and started to smash things up in my Parents house and had violent outbursts that my family found frightening, my Dad was feeling unwell at the time so couldn't put up with my temper tantrums. I knew at the time that what I was doing was wrong and very traumatic and frightening for my family and just could not control myself and lashed out without any warning. This was not a nice experience for both my family and me.

              I celebrated my 26th Birthday on December 2nd 2004 and had a curry with most of my family and was a good night out considering the circumstances. I finally had a start date from work I would start a week before Christmas and would go to work at 9:30am instead of 7:00am that week and work full time in the New Year. This made me feel a little better knowing I was allowed to start later as agreed with my Psychiatrist and was pleased that the Golf Club decided in the end that I could come to work later on in the day.

              After Christmas my Dad was taken ill in Hospital and had a blood test and the results showed he had leukaemia which is a fatal disease if you are old, they told him he only had few weeks left to live which was a shock to the whole Family. I spent New Years Eve at my Sisters house in Nottingham but did not feel like celebrating knowing my Dad will die at some point in 2005.

              Moving Away From Home:

              In January 2005 I went back to work at 7:00am when work starts that I found I could not do and turned up late to work everyday as I still felt no better. I was also smashing stuff up at my Parents house, so a Social Worker was called to deal with me and advised my Parents to phone the Police if I become violent. I was now seeing a new Psychiatrist at the 1st centre I went to back in April 2004 as the other one only deals with children and adolescents with autism. I had a violent outburst at home so was surprised when the Police turned up at the house to deal with me that my Dad phoned and by the time they arrived I had calmed down and Police Officer wrote my name down for their records. The Social Worker decided that it's best that I move away from home to a Hostel just across the road from my parent's house because my Dad was so ill the last thing he needed was a violent Son in the House.

              Towards the end of the Month I was still not turning up in time for work and some days did not turn up at all my Line Manager who's also known as the Head Greenkeeper phoned me up asking me to come to work but I never turned up so thought I would be sacked. The Club was told about my mental state so decided that I should not be at work till I am 100% better in my head and thy stopped paying my sick pay as they paid it for over 6 months and cannot keep paying me if I am not working.

              January 31st 2005 the Social Worker turned up with a Police Officer to escort me to the Hostel so felt I was being forced to leave even though I did not want to. My Brother and Sister helped bring all my personal belongings over to the Hostel that I was not happy about as I wanted to stay at home and got very angry inside ready to have a violent outburst and thankfully I didn't or would have been arrested by the Police Officer at my parents house who made sure I left properly without and incidences.

              AS Councillor And Overdose:

              During February 2005 I started seeing an Aspergers Councillor in Coventry who might be able to help overcome my mood swings and did not find it was helping me very much seeing her and after a few appointments I decided not to see her anymore. The Councillor recommended that I should sell my car so I would no longer see number plate I did not like and gave me advice on what to do when I am feeling angry and worked up.

              The support worker's at the hostel I stayed at was very nice to me and took me to see the Councillor and helped me going shopping. The majority of service users were also kind towards especially a man nearly two years older then me who also has Asperger syndrome understood what I was going through and was always on my side even when I lost my temper in the hostel. I remember the Manager of the hostel getting me out of bed in the morning to go to work and would hide in the built in cupboard when she came in On once occasion when I refused to open the door the hostel Manager got an ex service user to kick the lock of the door and he came up to me and hit me in the face for refusing to open the bedroom door, I also remember moving all my personal belongings across the road to my parent's house and was spotted by the Warden of the hostel and told to bring back all my personal belonging and furniture or he would call the Police out.

              I kept on going across to my parent's house and kept ringing the doorbell constantly and in the end my Dad called the Police and they had a word with me was escorted back to the Hostel. The next day I went back across the road to my Parents house and managed to force the front door open and was in lobby but could not get through second door into the house. I sat down in the lobby and took about 6 anti depressant tablets. My social worker turned up at the house and saw that I took an overdose and wanted me to go to Hospital but refused to go so went back to Hostel instead to sleep off the overdose as I was worried that once I was at the Hospital I would be sectioned to a psychiatric unit that was the last place I wanted to end up at.

              Getting Arrested:

              During March 2005 I was still staying at the Hostel and was still having mood swings and trashed my bedroom by smashing up the furniture and throwing hand cream across the wall out of frustration for not being allowed back home. I got a letter from the Hostel Manager saying I would be evicted if I misbehaved again. A few days later I moved all my furniture out of my bedroom onto landing and throw my TV out of my 2nd floor bedroom window due to anger and frustration and of course the TV fell apart. I also hid a kitchen knife under my mattress to self harm to release the anger and tension that was bottled up inside me and felt better after cutting myself. I would cut into the thigh of my leg so that no one could see that I had cut myself. Seeing the blood oozing out of my leg made me feel better as it felt like I was getting bad toxins out of my body that was contributing towards my depression. I now know that thinking in such a way was very dangerous and stupid as I could have easily cut through a main artery or get a bad infection from my self inflicted wounds that could easily have got infected and could have got blood poisoning.

              It was more to do with frustration then seeking attention as it made me feel better afterwards as it felt at the time the right thing to do and would not advise anyone in a depression to do what I did as it could have gone wrong and may have cut too deep and bled to death. I would smash up cups and plates in the hostel's main kitchen when I was angry and shout out loud. I felt so frustrated and angry and was like a coiled spring that was about to go off when I lost my temper. I know that the other service users at the hostel did not want to go anywhere near me as they feared that I may attack them so stayed well clear from me and cannot blame then really as I would have felt the same if I came across an out of control service user with unpredictable mood swings.

              An incident I remember well was when I went outside and smashed all the flowerpots in the front garden and I know that Bill and Ben the Flower Pot Men would not have been very impressed with me and could have gone all to pot, (was a classic British children's BBC TV programme that started being transmitted from the 50s) I then took a step ladder from the hostel so I could climb over the high gate to get to my parents garden. I was only there for a few minutes when suddenly 3 Police Officers turned up and asked me to come down to the station so I did what I was told and went to the station and they told me they want me to see a Doctor. I was surprised to see the Police Officers as my parents were away and think it was the Warden at the Hostel that phoned up the Police for smashing up the flower pots.

              I was at the back of the garden and the garden shed was left unlocked and had a handsaw in my hand when a Police Officer was suddenly behind me that took me by surprise as I never heard any sirens coming down the road. I am glad in the way that they turned up just in time as I was about to do some self harming again using the handsaw and may have ended up as a fatality if I cut too deeply into my wrist and cut into an artery as I would have lost a significant amount of blood. I was not handcuffed and was put into the back of the Police Car with a Police Officer sitting beside me to be taken to the station that is less only a 5 minutes drive.

              I arrived at the station at the custody area to be booked in by the sergeant at the desk and was asked to empty my pockets and to take shoes off before I was locked in a cell which I found unfair as I did nothing wrong. It was my 1st experience in a custody area at a Police station so was a little nervous and apprehensive. I spent around 2 hours in the cell before I saw a Doctor who asked me a few questions like would I take my own life and said no and was then put back into the cell. The time spent in the cell stressed me out as I felt closed in and claustrophobic and only contributed to my depression even more. The Police had arrested me for my own safety and needed to be assessed by a Doctor to decide if I need to be taken to a psychiatric hospital and did not really have any other option but to lock me up in a cell as I already had violent outburst so had to be locked away for my own safety and the officers at the station.

              The next time they opened the cell they said I was free to go and got picked up by the Hostel Manager. I was still having mood swings in the Hostel and smashed things up so was given final warning but ignored it so was evicted at the end of the month to a new Hostel a few miles down the road which I saw before hand and did not like the new hostel. I tried my best to control my temper but just could not calm myself down as I was feeling really angry and frustrated that I was kicked out of my Parents house.

              I had just got use to living at the Hostel when I was evicted and being sent from one Hostel to another one was not going to really help solve the situation I found myself in. The worst thing you could possible do for someone that's on the Autistic spectrum is to mess up our routines by treating my like a 2nd class parcel by sending me from one Hostel to another.

              I now can see why I had to leave home as it was unfair for my Dad and Mum to have an aggressive son that could attack them suddenly without any warning. They were both going through a hard time themselves with my Dad terminally ill and Mum had to take taking anti depressants which is understandable under the circumstances knowing her Husband was about to die and her youngest son was in a deep depression. This would be a parent's worst nightmare to see one of their children suffering and being helpless as she was told that she is not allowed to see me by my social worker. This was unfair as why could I not see my parents and family under a controlled environment and made me feel even more sad and depressed that I was not allowed anywhere near my family.

              Hostel Two:

              April 2005 I was taken by car to the new Hostel and was told I was not allowed to go near the old Hostel and if I did the Police would be called. The 1st night at the new Hostel I could not sleep and could not walk out of Hostel between 11:00pm and 7:00am because the support worker set the alarm on downstairs as the support workers were there 24/7 at the other Hostel. I was pacing up and down my room all night as I could not calm myself down enough to be able to sleep as I was so worked up and angry that I was no longer allowed too stay at the other Hostel. I opened the bedroom window that faced to the front of the Hostel as I wanted to get out of the building and get some fresh air to clear out my head and wanted to walk to my Parents house at 3am in the morning that was over 3 miles away. I could not jump out of the window as I was too high up and would seriously injure myself if I was stupid enough try to jump. There were no drain pipe I could hold onto and slide down so had no other option but to wait till 7am when the alarm downstairs was turned off. I was desperate to get out during the night and was in the right frame of mind not to jump out of the window as I would end up in a Hospital Ward for a couple of week and could have ended up for life in a wheelchair if I did decide to make the jump or could have killed myself. The night seemed to drag on and was pleased when dawn broke as I knew it would soon be 7am to and I could go downstairs to get out of the Hostel as I was desperate to get some fresh air and get away from the Hostel as it did not feel like a nice environment to stay in as the support workers and some of the service users were being nasty towards as one of the support worker said if I start playing up she would get one of the service users to hit me to knock some sense into me. This really hurt my feelings and that particular support worker should have known better then to use threats against me as they meant to be there to support me and not running me down in front of the other service users as they should have been trained how to handle mentally disturbed residents. I felt I had a good reason wanting to get away from the hostel as soon as possible.

              I left the house at 7:00am and walked back to my Parent's House that was only a 1 hour walk and rang doorbell and they gave in this time and let me in for breakfast but said I had to go back to the Hostel. It was nice of my parents to let me in the house as they was told not to by my social worker and if I did try coming back to call the Police. It was nice that my Dad decided to let me in as he was reluctant to do it before and could not keep denying me access as it would only upset me and then may become aggressive and violent and the Police would be called out.

              It felt really nice being at home again even if it was for only 30 minutes as it is better then not being allowed in at all. If you love your parents and have a good relationship with them the worse thing you can do is not being able to see them as they should be there when you are in need and not their fault that they denied me access as my behaviour was so unpredictable and was told not to let me in by social services and if they did not follow what they was told to do then they might not support me anymore.

              I was not in an aggressive mood while having breakfast and was nice to be able to spend some valuable time with them. It released some of the tension I was feeling at the time and thanked my parents for allowing me into their house. They told me not to worry as things will get better for me over a period of time and will come out of my depression.

              I then went over to the 1st Hostel and a Support Worker turned up and asked her if I could go in but she told me she is not allowed to let me in. I trusted her and got on well with this particular Support Worker as she was very motherly and understanding. A few days later I went back to the Hostel and rang the doorbell and was not allowed in that upset me a lot and became very angry and frustrated. I saw that the downstairs kitchen window was open wide enough that I could climb through and decided to climb through the window into the Hostel. I was spotted straight away by the warden who told me to get out or he would call the Police so did what I was told and walked straight back out of the Hostel as I did not want to end up in A cell again. I was still hanging around the grounds of the Hostel so the warden called the Police who turned up and drove me back to the other Hostel. I hated the second Hostel so much and could not stand being there as I could not get on well with the other service users and support workers. I walked back again to 1st Hostel opposite my parents house several times until the Police got called out again to take me back to the 2nd Hostel and they were not very happy about it and one of the 2 officers that drove me back wanted to arrest me for wasting Police time and breaching my conditions after being told several times not to enter the Hostel premises.

              Arrested For Carrying Hobby Craft Knife:

              I still kept on going back to the 1st Hostel as I really wanted to get my room back again as it was not as bad as the 2nd Hostel and was located in Harborne area of Birmingham I have lived in all my life. The other Hostel was in run down area of Edgbaston and had a higher crime rate then Harborne that is one of the safest suburbs of Birmingham to live in.

              I walked onto the drive but was stopped by the Ex service user that punched me in the face in my bedroom and was getting fed up being treated in such a negative way. I had now reached boiling point for being treated so badly so walked over to a shop down the road and bought a hobby craft knife that I was going to use to slit my wrist in front of the hostel. I was so upset and annoyed about the way I was being treated and the only way I felt at the time that I could get my message across was to hold up a hobby craft knife against my wrist. I went to the front of the Hostel window with the hobby craft knife against my wrist a few times then went and sat down on the steps of my parents house and saw a police car pull over so walked away to a side road were they could not see me. When I saw the Police turn up I remained very calm and was not intimidated by their presence as at the time I did not think I was doing anything wrong by carry a hobby craft knife in my pocket.

              The Police officer that was in the car saw me walking towards the side road and must have got a description of me after passing the car which is why he never approached me when I walked past the Police car. A few more Police cars pulled up and could hear the sirens going when suddenly 2 Police cars pulled up onto the side road and was handcuffed straight away while one of the officers removed the hobby craft knife out of my pocket. I did think to ditch the hobby craft knife so they would not find it on me so they could not charge me for carrying an offensive weapon in a public place. I did not care at the time if the Police arrested me as I was full of adrenalin and really angry and frustrated and I was happy to get arrested and taken to the Police Station in that afternoon. At the time would rather spend time at the Police Station in the cell rather then spend anymore time at the Hostel.

              I was not happy that they put handcuffs on me as I did not wave the hobby craft knife at them and now understand why they did it as it is a standard procedure as I was a danger to myself and the general public and could have lash out at one of the officers so did it for their safety and my own. I was put in the cell until I was interviewed with an appropriate Adult as I did not think I would need a Solicitor. The Interview took place just after midnight and was very short and brief and was given a caution rather then being charged and sent to Magistrates Court the next morning. After being taped and interviewed the officers told me that I would be charged if I carried another sharp pointed instrument in a public area again. The Custody Sergeant at the desk said the Hostel no longer wants me as they don't feel safe having me anymore after being caught carrying a hobby craft knife as I was a danger to the support worker and service users at the Hostel. I can understand why they had to be so cautious and did not want me to go back at the Hostel as I could easily attack the service users and support workers if I was in the wrong frame of mind. I was glad in a way that I was no longer allowed back as I hated the Hostel support worker and some of the service users who made physical threats against me.

              I was unstable during that time that I could have ended up seriously hurting or killing someone when having a rage and glad nothing happened that afternoon as I knew what the consequences would be with a life long prison sentence and a guilty conscious for the rest of my life knowing that I killed another human being when I really did not mean to do it as the medication did not agree with me and made me totally out of character.

              I would have stayed at Parents house that night but they were away that evening, thankfully 2 officers kindly dropped me off at Cheap Hotel were I spent the night and did not get any sleep after what had happened to me that day as I was so round up and upset and frustrated that I could not calm myself down to relax enough to be able to get a few hours sleep. I left the Hotel at around 7am and paid for my stay with by debit card and headed towards Harborne where I felt safe and secure in familiar surroundings. I did not like living in any other area of Birmingham and only wanted to live in Harborne where I was born and raised.

              Psychiatric Hospital:

              The next morning when I left the Hotel I headed to my Brother In Laws Office not far from Parents house in Harborne where his Mum works as his Secretary and told her I had no were to live as I was no longer allowed near the Hostel. I was officially homeless as I was not allowed to stay at my parent's house and Hostel so started to get anxieties about not having a place to stay at. I might have to sleep on the streets of Birmingham as I had no other option but to do this as none of my family would let me stay at their houses as they were worried about their children being at risk and would never dream of hurting my nephews and nieces.

              My Brother In Laws Mum rang up my Sister to ask her what can be done to find me accommodation that night as I would have ended up sleeping on the streets of Birmingham as I was also not allowed to stay at my sisters house as my Brother In Law did not feel safe having me in his house. My Sister phoned up the Psychiatric Centre and they told he drop me off at the Centre. I was driven to the Psychiatric by my brother in law. They would arrange new accommodation for me as soon as possible. Late afternoon arrived and they found somewhere for me to stay at it was the Psychiatric Hospital not far from my parents house that I felt was the wrong type of place for me to be staying at so ran away from the Centre as I refused to go and rather sleep on the streets of Birmingham then having to stay in a Psychiatric Ward. The 1st thing that went into my head was will I get attacked by other patients and be drugged up and put to sleep that really made me go into a panic attack which is why I decided to run away from the Psychiatric Centre.

              I waited till Centre had closed before heading back again so the staff at the centre would not see me outside the centre and force me to go to the hospital. I walked towards the 1st Hostel which was only about 100 yards from the Psychiatric Centre and saw the Hostel Manager who found out what was going on and told me in a very nice calm way that I would be better off in the Psychiatric Hospital and would drive me there so in the end I decided to go with her. It was better then sleeping rough in the streets of Birmingham as I would be in danger of getting mugged and might not be as bad as people make out Psychiatric Hospitals to be as seen on films. On the way to the Psychiatric Hospitals I started get nervous and anxious which is natural for anyone as it a scary prospect as you uncertain of what might happen when you get there and for how long you going to be sectioned at the Hospital.

              When I arrived I went to one of main units and was introduced to two male Nurses who made me feel at ease and I met some of the Patients who seemed to be ok while others were out of their heads and mentally disturbed. The Hospital was nice and clean and the nurses seemed to be friendly so felt less nervous about staying there. I was put in a 2 bed Ward and the bed next to mine was empty for the 1st 2 days which was a blessing as I could sleep better by not having to share the room with another patient. I was worried on the 3rd night when I had to share the room with a male patient in his 40s who kept on taking to himself and just ignored him and pretended he was not there. I always prefer sleeping on my own as I am a light sleeper and need the room to be silent before I fall asleep and if there someone else is in the room and starts snoring I cannot sleep and stay wide awake.

              There was a young female patient who was very disturbed and kept on walking into my room chanting and stole my clothes and slapped me in the face. I no longer wanted to stay at the Hospital and was desperate to run away I tried many times to run out of exit door out of the ward and was always stopped by the Nurses. My Mum and Sisters came to see me during afternoons and was glad to be able to see them as I could not really talk properly to the other patients and Nurses and was comforting having my family around me to be able to talk to them about how I was feeling and told them that I was not happy staying at the hospital and both my sister and mum told me not to worry as I wont be staying long as they are going to find a more suitable accommodation where I will feel more at ease and less stressed out.

              A big Meeting was held with the top Psychiatrist of the Hospital with my Social Worker and a Psychiatrist from the Centre. My Mum, Sister, Brother in Law and myself attended the meeting that went well and was told a few days later I would be discharged. I was happy that I was no longer sectioned and had just spent over a week at the Hospital and was glad to leave and returned to my Parents House which was what I was aiming for since being evicted in January. I was still not feeling great mentally and was still feeling depressed as the hospital put me on a new course of anti depressants that did not real help me overcome my anxiety and depression I was feeling at the time and found it made me feel even worse rather then better.

              Attack At Home:

              I was to be given a 2nd chance at my Parents house not to miss behave and not to have any violent outburst as my Dad was feeling very ill from his Leukaemia and needed peace in the house and needed to be kept away from any stress so had to behave at my parents house. I started smashing cups and plates in the kitchen that I had no control over I felt like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde I was fine one minute and the next thing I started to become violent and aggressive and was unpredictable with my mood swings. My Dad had no other option but to call the Police who came straight away and I was not arrested as my Dad did not want to press charges against me. A few days later I lost my temper again and the Police came with 3 Police Officers who followed me upstairs and would not let me pass them that really annoyed me and made me even more angry so I went to get a razor blade from the bathroom that my Dad used to cut away hard corns on his feet. One of the Police Officers spotted the razor blade and handcuffed straight away and took me to the Station.

              I was going to use it on myself rather then on one of the officers and could understand from their point of view why they cuffed me straight away for my own safety and to protect the other officers. I was taken the custody area and while I was at the desk one of the officers that arrested me made out that I was going for him with the razor blade which was not true and the sergeant at the desk wrote it down on the computer that I made a threat towards one of the officers. I never held the razor blade towards him so exaggerated the report. I had to spend one night locked in the cell which was a horrible experience as I got no sleep as the other suspects shouted all night and banged on their cell doors so could not relax enough to get some sleep. I was glad when morning came and was released with out any charges.

              I returned back to my Parents house, a few days passed and my Parents went away and my Sisters and Brother came to stay to make sure I was ok. In the evening I lost my temper again and smashed china in the kitchen and tried to attack my Sister who called the Police who came straight away with 4 Officers who asked my Sister if she wanted me to be taken to the Station. My sister did not want see me get arrested so did not press any charges against me. I must have been really threatening and frightening towards my sister and was so out of character for me to attack my own family and the only thing that I can think of that caused the violent outburst was the wrong type of medication that the Psychiatrist prescribed to me. I felt at the time if a demon had taken over my body as I was never violent or aggressive prior to my breakdown.

              Back At Psychiatric Hospital:

              A few days later I was not allowed near my Parents House so went to Park across the road and found a peace of broken glass that I used to cut my wrist with. I did not intend to kill myself just wanted to inflict some wounds to seek attention to let people know that I was not feeling very happy. A member of the public must have seen what I was doing with the piece of broken glass and called the Police that arrived and saw what I was doing so removed glass and took me in their car to the Police Station. I was put in a cell until a Doctor could come and see me with a Social Worker I waited a few hours and the Doctor and Social Worker finally came and he recommend that I go back to the Psychiatric Hospital and get sectioned under the mental health act for my own safety. The Police handcuffed me and took me to the Hospital and was brought back to the same Unit as before and only had to spend a few days there till a new Hostel placement became available.

              I blow my chances big time by being so aggressive and violent at my parents and could end up in a even worse hostel then the last one I stayed at is used to accommodate the homeless based in Birmingham City Centre or even worse a bail hostel for criminals that are on trial or been sent to the bail hostel instead of prison that is the worse place you could send an adult on the Autistic spectrum.

              During my short stay I tried to escape a few times I was told I might be sent to ICU (Intensive Care Unit) so I calmed myself down and no longer tried to escape. I was worried about being sent to the ICU as they would have drugged me up and put me to sleep I carried on misbehaving and did not want to give them a chance to send me to the unit so calmed right down and never went near the exit door again.

              The Manager from the Hostel came to the Hospital to see me and said there was a place available in the Hostel and left the Hospital the next day to go to the new Hostel. I was worried about going to the new Hostel as it was based in Small Heath one of the roughest suburbs of Birmingham and was a bit apprehensive about going to the Hostel as I did not like the last one I went to so knew this one was going to be worse Small Heath is well known for drugs and gun crime so was not at all happy that I had to stay at the Hostel as I knew it was going to be worse then the previous two Hostels I stayed at.

              Hostel Three/Arrest and Assault:

              It was the start of May and I was at the new Hostel that I did not like at all and would rather have been in the Psychiatric Hospital, as the support workers at the Hostel did not treat me nicely during the short time I was there. They treated me like a worthless piece of shit and hated being there as the staff were being verbally bullying me as they kept on calling me nasty names that only made my depression even worse as anger built up inside me and became very delicate and agitated and was very touchy and moody.

              One afternoon I had enough and take anymore and I felt like a coiled spring ready to be snap any second and could not take any more bullying from the Support workers and went outside the Hostel and broke off a plank of wood from a picnic bench in the garden that had a 4 inch nail sticking out. I held up the plank of wood and followed a male support worker down the road as he just finished his shift as I felt so upset and angry at the way I was being treated and could feel the adrenalin pumping through my body as I was following him down the road. I could hear Police sirens in the background and thought nothing of it until I could hear it coming closer and closer until finally 2 Police cars pulled up beside me.

              I held the plank of wood in the air when 2 male Officers approached me as I felt they were a threat towards which was not a smart move. The Officers got their batons out and hit the plank of wood out of my hand and pushed me onto the pavement and pinned me down and one of the Officers put all his weight onto my head and could feel my face being squashed against the pavement that was really painful. I did not show both Officers that I was in a lot of pain and discomfort so accepted the pain I was going through. I had so much adrenalin going through my body that I thought I was doing nothing wrong and was invisible and thought no one could take me on. I was cuffed from behind and got back onto my feet. Then a bald stocky Police Officer assaulted me by putting his arm against my throat till I started chocking which was really unfair and not very professional of him to do this to me and should have reported him to the Sergeant at the custody desk. I was cuffed and no longer a threat to both Officers and what he did was out of order and should not have treated me in this type of manner. I can understand he was very upset as I could have killed him if I had a swing at his head and hit him on the temple.

              When they took me to the Station in the patrol car I tried to get out of my seat so they put their sirens on and drove fast to the Station the bald Officer sitting beside me on assaulted me again by putting his elbow against my throat till I could no longer breathe and did it again at the Station. This incident made me really anti Police and no longer liked or trusted them anymore. Once I was at the Station I was put in the cell till after midnight and returned to the Hostel without being charged. The Police Officer should not have assaulted me so many times and did not tell the Custody Sergeant that one of his Officers assaulted me as there was no witnesses and the other Officer with him would not grass on him, so was my word against his and would not have got very far. Due to this particular Police Officers actions it caused me to dislike the Police Force in general that took me a long time to forgive and them and got into further trouble with the Police as you will find out later on in my book due to having an obsession and paranoia after this one particular incident that is hard not to forget that seeded my this trust towards the Police.

              During the time in the Cell not one Officer asked if I was ok or wanted any food or drinks as they must have hated me for trying to attack one of their Officers so ignored me totally. I spent over 8hrs in the cell and during those few hours felt like taking my own life as I was so traumatised after being assaulted by one of the Officers. I was totally ignored when I pressed the buzzer for assistance as I felt dehydrated and needed some fluids and a glass of water would have been a nice so started to really hate the Police.

              I would rather have been kept in overnight and was hoping that they might not want me back at the Hostel that I hated being in. The Police did a nice gesture by driving me back to the Hostel and did think on the way there if I should attack one of the Officers while in the car so I would get arrested again and spend a night in the cell as I hated the Hostel that much and was desperate to get out as soon as possible. When I was dropped off at the Hostel I started to panic and my chest became really tight through stress of being back again as I disliked the support workers who should have been more supportive rather then treating me like a worthless piece of shit.

              Arrested Again:

              A few days later I walked 6 miles to my Parents House who were away so could not get in. I decided to go back to the Hospital and asked if I could be a Patient again and 2 Nurses were called and asked me to leave but wouldn't so the Police were called so I did what I was told and headed back home and knocked on the Neighbours who know me very well and they had been told to call the Police and they were there within a few minutes when a Police car pulled in front of my Parents house and took me to the Station. I told I was not under arrest so waited in the main reception area by the information desk.

              I was in the reception area for about 20 minutes when the Police Officer came back and said I was under arrest which was a complete surprise to me as I had done nothing wrong. The only thing I did was smash up a headboard on the bed and ripped a bit of wallpaper in Hostel bedroom, when the Police Officer did report he said the wash basin was ripped of wall. Curtains rail torn off, wardrobe doors ripped off. I don't remember doing these things and know I did not do it but was still going to be arrested.

              I was transferred to the same Police Station were I was taken when I tried to hit the Hostel Worker with a plank of wood with nail in it and the same Police Officer who assaulted me turned up at other Station and handcuffed me and drove me to other Station. I was worried that he may assault me again and thankfully he did not. I spent a few hours in the cell and was then taken back to the Hostel who decided not to press charges. I returned to the bedroom that was in a right state and knew I did not do all the damage like ripping off the wash basin and cupboard doors off.

              It must have been set up by one of the support workers at the hostel who maybe asked one of the service users or even one of the support workers to totally trash my bedroom as I know I never damaged the room so recklessly. I know I was not liked by the support worker as they would show they did not like having me by not treating me in a like a human being and even told me next time you misbehave they will get one of the service users to give me a good battering to knock some sense into me.

              The same day I touched one of the support workers on duty gently on her shoulder and she phoned the Police straight away who arrived and was not arrested as I did not assault her and she was not happy that I got away with it. I thought she over reacted and wasted Police time as I did not hit her just touched her and she was a nasty towards me and called me all the names under the sun which is not right as she should be there to help me rather then wind me up even more.

              By now I was feeling even more depressed that increased my anxiety and stress levels that lowered my moral and just wanted to be left alone and not be in contact with anyone at the Hostel and mainly stayed in my room. I even went down stairs to try and find a sharp kitchen knife to take to my bedroom to do some self harming as I was that upset and depressed at the way they treated me that I did not care what might happen as I was not thinking straight at the time

              Aggressive Attack:

              The next day I became aggressive towards the support workers as yet again they were running me down all the time and had to restrain me onto the floor as I was getting out of control as I was going through a meltdown. I kicked and cracked a reinforced glass door window pain and tugged one of the support workers skirt and pinched her arm and then kicked a male support worker in his arm and then pinched another female support workers arm as they tried to restrain me. They did not restrain in the correct way and if they knew how to restrain someone out of control using the correct restraining techniques they would never have restrained any injuries.

              They phoned the Police who came within a few minutes and 2 Officers cuffed me from behind. This time they had evidence as they could see the pinch marks and some bruising on the support workers arms

              I was taken to the Station for the 3rd time in 1 week and think the Police got fed up that I kept on getting arrested so was charged this time for 'actual bodily harm' (ABH) and criminal damage for kicking in a window at the Hostel. I was going to be kept in overnight and would have a recorded interview the next morning with a Solicitor present. It was horrible spending a night in a cell and got very little sleep feeling very claustrophobic in such a small space.

              The next morning I had the interview with my Solicitor present and was charged for ABH and criminal damage. In the report it mentioned that one of the support workers at the Hostel had to go to Hospital with a swollen arm that was hurting a lot and think it was not that bad as I did not kick his arm hard. Looking back now maybe I did kick the support worker in his arm hard as the adrenalin was pumping through my body at the time of the attack increases the power of the blow to the arm.

              I was going to Magistrates Court the next morning so had to spend a 2nd night in the cell. Having to spend a 2nd night in a confined space was a very traumatic and unpleasant situation to fine myself in and I hardly got any sleep in 48 hour. During those 48hrs I did not eat and only had a few cups of water as I physically could not eat as I had no appetite and the food the station provided was a poor quality and was not even good enough to feed your pet dog or cat.

              I was picked up early next day in a prison van and taken to the Magistrates Court in central Birmingham. They put cuffs on one of your arms and the other end of the cuffs is attached to one of the officers and are led to a big white van and put in a tiny space with a hard plastic chair to sit on with a small square window to look out off. Once the door has been shut there hardly any space and can just about move your arms slightly as the space was so compact and restricted. Once we arrived at the Magistrates Court the van parked up in an enclosed area that was underground. I was cuffed again with about a 12 other people and taken up some steps to a cell that I had to share with others which was daunting and no one was going to be chatty as we could all end up in prison.

              I met my Solicitor in the morning in a room next to the cells who told me to plead guilty to all the charges. I had to wait till the late afternoon till I was called into Court and was handcuffed and taken up to the Court to the Dock where I had to say my name age and address to the Judge. The Judge read out what I had done and pleaded guilty to 3 counts of ABH and criminal damage and was given a sentence I would be on remand on her Majesty Services for 3 weeks this meant I was going to Prison. The date I was sent to Prison was Friday May 13th 2005 and would be back in Court on Friday 3rd June 2005, so was an unlucky day for me. It was a dreadful feeling when the Judge said I was going to go to Prison and felt physically sick knowing I was going to be locked up for 3 weeks in a confined space with another prisoner who I do not know and might not get on well with.

              I was cuffed again on one arm onto the officer's arm and led back down the steps to the cell and only had to wait one hour before being led out into the prison van and spent the hour with 3 others in the cell and none of us said a word as we were all in state of shock knowing that we are going to go prison. I was deeply shocked that I was about to go to Winson Green Prison in Birmingham. The officers had to fill out a form saying I was going to go to prison and they said to me you are going to the green and said nothing back to them as I was too upset and shocked to say anything. The hour passed by and was cuffed and taken to the van that would transport me and the other prisoners to Winson Green Prison. It was one of the worst journeys in my life and was scared about what was going to happen for the next 3 weeks while on remand as prisons are not nice places to stay at even if you are not mentally ill prison is a daunting and frightening environment to be in.

              Winson Green Prison:

              The van arrived in the yard of Winson Green Prison and was led out of the van into the reception area of the Prison and waited in a room with other Prisoners while waiting to be booked in. I did not feel comfortable being around the other Prisoners and was feeling very stressed with tightness in my chest due to high anxiety levels. I waited for about hour and a half till I was called over and ask to strip to my underwear so I could wear the prison clothes and they put my clothes into a box and was given my Prisoner number. The next place I went to was to collect a food bag that contained some tea bags and small amount of cereal and collected a blanket and before being taken to my wing were I would stay for couple of days till I went to remand wing.

              They asked me if I would self harm and told them I might self harm so I was taken to see a Doctor and noticed one of the Prison Officers was smirking and laughing that I self harmed that was very nasty and unprofessional for him to act in such a manner. The Doctor decided to put me high risk watch that meant I was not allowed to have any sharp items such a razor blade to shave with and the Prison Officers would have me under observation and would check up on me every hour by looking through the hatch of the cell door. The Doctor asked me what medication I was taking and asked if I wanted to end my life and said to him I don't think so and went back to cell. The next day I was allowed to have a shower and make a phone call so I rang up my Parents and told them were I was and only knew about it when my Social Worker told them the day before. It was nice to be able to talk to my mum and dad who said to me not to worry and be brave and will be helped and will come out of my depression.

              I shared my cell with a guy from Stoke on Trent who was in Prison for showing firearms at his garage at his house and told me he will be in Prison for 4 weeks for showing a shotgun in public view. He was ok with me and we got on ok and felt ok sharing a cell with him as he was never nasty towards me. The cell toilet was in middle of room with no cubicle so had no privacy and felt very embarrassed when using the toilet and was a very unpleasant experience to go through. I was told I would be going to the remand wing in a few days time by one of the Prison Officers. . I spent the 1st few days watching TV all day that was boring till I had a place at the Remand Wing.

              5 days after my arrival I was taken to the Remand K Wing and was put in Cell 13 on the Upper Wing. I was sentenced on Friday 13th and now in cell 13 so was an unlucky number for me. The Prisoner I had to share the cell with was not as nice as the 1st Prisoner I shared the cell with and was also from Stoke on Trent and was in Prison for burglary and was waiting to be sentenced at Crown. He had a shaved head with a spider tattoo on it and was short and stocky and found him intimidating and threatening as he would some time would grab me and put me in a head lock and became aggressive and verbally abusive towards me.

              We were given a food menu once a week for the week ahead and had to tick what food I wanted. The food was terrible the potatoes were half boiled the pizzas were dried out with not much topping. The food quality is not going to be to a high standard and think it part being in prison getting badly prepared food to put you off going to prison again in the future. We were given a canteen form and could buy food, toiletries, tobacco and stationary with money that my Parents gave to me and also had to earn your money by doing a certain job in the prison.

              All new Prisoners had to attend a Prison Introduction course telling you what facilities the Prison provided such as a Gym, Chapel and Library. We also had to attend a Health and Safety course that lasted 5 days and studied COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous Health) and fire safety. We learned what type of fire extinguishers to use on different types of fire, plus other things on health and safety. The last day we did a First Aid Course and had to do mouth to mouth resuscitation that I was no good at doing as I could not concentrate properly as too many things were going through my head and was still in a deep depression and found it hard to take in information.

              The group of Prisoners I was with that week were nice to me as they felt sorry for me being in prison for a mental health problem and said it was not the right environment for me to be in. Not all Prisoners are nasty individuals and found that the majority of the Prisoners I came face to face with treated me nicely as they all felt sorry for me ending up in prison for minor offences.

              During the 2nd week I was allowed a visit from my Mum and had time off the lesson to see her, each time you visit someone you have to change into striped shirt. I had to wait with other prisoners in a room outside the visiting room and had to listen carefully for the Prison Officer to shout out your name and seat number. I was allowed to visit my Mum for just over an hour and she told me not to worry I will be out soon and will get the right help and support. It was nice to see her for an hour and could see that she was upset that I ended up in prison and was not angry with me and said I will get the right kind of help and support and will not be in prison for very long.

              I had another visit from my Mum and one of my Sisters and went with her to get some snacks and a drink from the vending machines and went with her and was told to get back in my seat by Prison Officer as you are not allowed to get up during a visit. The 3rd and final visit was again with my Mum and another one of my Sisters and she started crying in front of me and that started to make my Mum cry as well. I was upset seeing both of them cry and remained strong and did not cry even though I felt emotional and upset seeing them in distress as I did not want the other Prisoners and Prison Officers in the room see me in a weakened state. The worst part was when I said goodbye to them both as that's when they started crying which deepened depression even more.

              During the same week I had a appointment with the Prison Doctor and Social Worker in the morning and saw the Doctor first who would assess me before I saw my Social Worker who had a gentleman with her called Gareth Hancock who deals with aggressive adults who have been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome who worked as a Clinical Psychologist at Hospital in the County of Bedfordshire.

              The Hospital had only just opened in early 2005 and was the 1st Autistic Hospital in the UK for Patients with a violent or aggressive behaviour that have ended up getting themselves arrested and sent to Prison for their actions. Gareth told me it is a Residential Hospital where I would get 24/7 support to get me out of my depression I was in and that had a vacant bedroom ready for me with a wet room and own toilet once I have left Prison.

              The last week in Prison I had a job working in the Warehouse packing food, stationary, toiletries and tobacco for Prisoners in other Prisons around the Midlands region. You picked a list of items that was in a bucket and would go around the warehouse looking for each item and putting the items listed into the bucket, once all the items have been collected I handed the bucket to another Prisoner who checks that you have right items it and then it is packed in a clear plastic bag ready for transportation to other prisons across the Midlands region. The job I was given was not too bad and did pass the hours by quickly and was better then being stuck in the cell all day watching TV.

              I was put under pressure to steal some tobacco from my cell mate and refused to do it in case I got caught out as they can randomly search you at the end of the day before going back to your wing and would be punished harshly if I was caught stealing.

              I really had the urge to do some self harm to myself as I was so depressed being sent to Prison but had no sharp items in the cell as I was not allowed to use a wet shaver and started to grow an beard by not being allowed to shave as they knew I was capable of self harming with my mental state of mind. I decided I would risk stealing some razor blade heads that are used when having a wet shave and are small and easy to hide and easy to get hold of in the warehouse. I was nervous when I did steal a razor blade that I hide under my sleeve in case I was searched at the end of the warehouse shift. It was pot luck that I did not get searched as on some occasions the Prison Officers do a full strip search and this is not a nice thing to have to go through standing there naked.

              On that particular day I was not striped searched and got away with it and when I got back to my cell I removed a razor blade from the razor head plastic protective covering to expose the blade that I took off the head. This cell had a toilet cubicle so no one could see what I was up too. I went into the cubicle and placed the razor blade against my left wrist and asserted pressure on the blade until blood came trickling out of my wrist. I did it 2 days before I went back to Magistrate Court and no Prison Officers knew about it or noticed I had cut marks on my left wrist. My Cell mate did not care and just let me get on with it and did not report it that I was self harming. By cutting my self it helped release some of the anxiety and depression I was under at the time as being in Prison only made my depression even worse.

              Leaving Prison:

              Finally after what felt like eternity its was Friday 3rd of June 2005 the day I was due back to the Magistrates Court and had to be up and out of the cell by 7:30am. I was taken back to Reception. I was given back my clothes that I was allowed to wear again that they had kept in a box and felt great to get out of the Prison uniform. I was called by a Prison Officer to answer a few questions before they did a body swipe to check to see if I had any weapons before being escorted into Prison Van to take me back to Birmingham Magistrates Court in Central Birmingham.

              When the Prison Van arrived at the Magistrates Court I was cuffed on one hand and taken to a cell that I had to share with 2 other people. I met my Solicitor in the morning who discussed what might happen he said I might go back to Prison for another 3 weeks on remand and would see him again in Court. This thought of spending another 3 weeks in prison made me feel physically sick while waiting in the cell to be called into Court as if I went back I think I would have done something very drastic that would have been life threatening as I may well have ended my life there and then as being in prison only added to my depression.

              I had to wait till after lunch till I was called into Court and would rather have got it out of the way in the morning. I really got distressed while waiting in the cell to be called up to the Court in case I went back to Prison again that was the wrong place for me to be in. I had to wait till the mid afternoon till I was called into the Court and taken up to the Dock and saw my 2 eldest Sisters in the Public Gallery and felt good to know that some of my family was present in the Court for some moral support. I had to stand up when the Judge came in who read out why I was in Prison for 3 weeks on Remand and what his next decision would be and he walked out to discuss his decision with his partner and came back about 8 minutes later. The 8 minutes wait felt like eternity and was worried I would be sent back again to Prison for another 3 weeks on remand that would be the worse case scenario for me.

              When he came back in he said I was going to be fined a total of £275 for the criminal damage at the hostel and a small compensation towards the staff that sustained some minor injuries. I was told I will not be going back into Prison and I am free to leave the Court Room that was a massive relief as I would have got into a deeper depression. I was free to go and was led to the exit door by the Court Officer that had led me in with cuffs and now I was a free man again and met up with my sisters in the main lobby area. There was an Office in the building where one of my sisters paid the fine straight away. We then went upstairs to see a Probation Officer about where I would be staying.

              The Probation Officer could not find a place for me to stay as none of the Hostels wanted me after what happened at the other 3 Hostels I stayed at, so had no other option but to live back home again that I had been aiming for since I left the house in January. My Social Worker rang and was not happy that I was allowed back home again and my mum insisted that she wants me back at home again and cannot force her not take me back again. My Social Worker wanted to see me back in Prison again until there was a place for me at the Hospital for people on the autistic spectrum. This was not very nice of her to think like this way. To be honest never really liked her that much as she took her time giving me the proper help and support I desperately needed and thought I was a trouble maker rather then seeing it as part of my breakdown. I got a black cab taxi back home with my 2 sisters and felt nice that I was free once again after being confined to a cell for most of the time while in Prison. I still needed help from Gareth Hancock from the Autistic Hospital in Bedfordshire as I was still in a deep depression.

              Visit to Asperger syndrome Hospital:

              I arrived back home and was still not getting any better I was still not shaving, showering and brushing my teeth and was waiting to get funding to stay at an Asperger syndrome Hospital in Bedfordshire called Milton Park Hospital. Gareth Hancock and Jenny Cutler a Consultant Forensic Psychologist came to visit me at home to take me for the day to see the Asperger syndrome Hospital and Residential Homes. I saw the Hospital first that was brand new and not was not like a Hospital at all and was more like a luxury Hostel with your own bedroom and wet room and toilet facilities. I met some of the Nurses at the Hospital who made me feel at ease and were all friendly. I was then driven to a Hostel in St Neots not far from the Hospital in Cambridgeshire that is a lovely Town and then returned to the Hospital for Lunch. The food was not like Hospital food and was to a good standard and had cod and chips with Gareth and Jenny. After Lunch we went to see another Hostel called 'Manor Farm' located in the heart of the Cambridgeshire countryside in the outskirts of a Village, I met the Manager who was really nice who showed me the garden that had hens walking around it. I would not mind staying at Manor Farm as it felt like a family home rather then a Hostel. Once I had seen the Hostel I was driven back home to Birmingham by a Driver and a Nurse. I now just had to wait for the funding to become a patient at Milton Park. The funding had finally been given the go ahead and would never have been given any funding if I had not gone to prison.

              Hammer Waving:

              While waiting for a place at Milton Park I was living back at my parent's house and went over to the 1st Hostel I stayed at across the road with a hammer in my hand. I went to the back of the Hostel and waved the hammer through the window of the lounge in view of the service users. I then went back to my parent's house with the hammer and placed it back in the toolbox then went back across the road to the Hostel. As I crossed the road to get back to my parent's house a Police car pulled in front of the house and the Police Officer recognised me from a previous arrest and took me into a Police van while they had a look for the hammer that was not found as I took it back into my parents again. They asked my Mum if I was allowed to live back home she said I was allowed to and was taken out of van and brought back into the house by this time there were 3 Police cars and a van.

              The following day I went again to the Hostel with a hammer and again the Police got called out who came to my Parents house and I decided to lock myself in my parent's bedroom. A Police Women and Man knocked on the door and I opened it in the end and she had word with me saying how stupid I was and would end up in Prison again. I only reason I went over with a hammer was because I was upset that they evicted me and wanted to get have a go back at them by annoying and frightening the support workers and service users which I now know was very wrong and stupid and was not thinking straight and needed a place fast at Milton Park before I get myself arrested again. I would never have used the hammer and only used it to look in intimidating rather then causing any injuries to anyone.

              Milton Park Hospital:

              The next morning the doorbell rang it was my Social Worker, Jenny Cutler, Gareth Hancock a support worker and 2 Police Officers who were waiting outside the front door. I was ready to be taken to Milton Park but did not want to go so ran upstairs to the toilet and locked the door and climbed out of the window onto low roof that I jumped off and walked to the front of the house but was confronted by the 2 Police Officer and was taken back to the house. I still refused to go so I was arrested and handcuffed and taken back to Police Station and locked into a cell after being forced in as I refused to go into the cell. I was only in for 10 minutes when the Social Worker turned up with a support worker who were both going to Milton Park in Bedfordshire to see how I settle down and to fill in the paper work to get me sectioned under the mental health act. I was once again cuffed again and put into a back of a Police Van and same 2 Police Officers that arrested me drove me all the way to the Milton Park. When I arrived I was taken to one of the Hospital Units where I would be staying at and was uncuffed and had some Lunch. Once I had my Lunch the Social Worker left with the 2 Police Officers who went back to Birmingham. I was admitted to the Hospital on 21st June 2005 the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

              The Hospital I stayed at was located in outskirts of a Village called Wyboston in Bedfordshire and was called Milton Park Hospital run by Brookdale Healthcare that had only just opened a few weeks ago when I arrived. It was the first Aspergers/Autism Hospital to be open in the UK and all the buildings were brand new and each service user had their own room with shower and toilet facilities in each room. I was in a secure Unit I was only allowed outside within the Hospital grounds escorted by 2 support workers. I saw a Doctor who gave me a health check during the first week and a Psychiatrist came to see me and gave me some new medication; I had to take 10mg of Olanzapin once a day in the evenings.

              I started to brush my teeth twice a day and have a shower every morning to get back into a routine and played board games with the support workers. The second week I lost my temper and smashed a chair and kept on waiting by the front door ready to leave the Unit. This was the only incident that happened during my Stay at Milton Park. I slowly got better and no longer stood by front door ready to escape as the weeks passed by. I decided that I should see a Dentist because I had a hole in my tooth and went to see a NHS Dentist in the Town of Bedford and had a check up and she said I need 8 fillings so over the next few weeks I had 8 fillings that was caused by not brushing my teeth during my breakdown.

              I played games with the support workers mainly connect 4 and dominos to pass the time and was allowed out for an hour most days escorted. I was also allowed on the Internet for a certain amount of time.

              My Mum and Sister came to visit me and bought some of my music CD's and had some bad news to tell me about my cat Sooty who got knocked over and killed by a car after he was chased across the main road by a dog in the park. I was very upset about it as I bonded well with Sooty and had to have a cry as I was very much attached to Sooty as it is never nice to lose a well beloved pet as they become very emotionally attached to you.

              After about 4 weeks I was allowed to go to the local Town of St Neots in the neighbouring County of Cambridgeshire and had my haircut escorted and was also allowed to look around the Town which was very pleasant with a good selection of shops and Pubs. My Dad was in Hospital with his Leukaemia and was allowed to visit home for the day with 3 nurses just to make sure I was ok was allowed to see him for about an hour and then returned to Milton Park.

              The month of August I was allowed to go out more to St Neots and go shopping at Tesco's with just 1 Nurse instead of 2 after the Psychiatrist signed a form saying I was allowed outside Hospital with only 1 support worker. I went to Birmingham again for Lunch at my Parents house with 2 Nurses to see my Dad who was out of Hospital. On a Bank Holiday Monday I went for a walk down the river at St Neots and then had Coffee with one of the support workers.

              In September was allowed to go back home again to see my Dad with 2 support workers, I had some good news from one of the support workers I was going to a less secure Unit were you have more freedom known as the Pre discharge Unit.

              Pre Discharge Unit:

              A few days later I moved to the new Unit that had a bigger garden and could go out into the garden any time during the day that was fenced in. The other Unit garden door was mostly locked and was only allowed out with a support worker. I did miss the support workers from other Unit just as I was getting to know them well and soon got to know the new support workers who were also nice. I settled in the new Unit really well and started chatting and getting to know the other service users who were all nice and could go outside any time during the daytime and often would kick a football around. I Went to Tesco to buy food and CD's and bought cake and bread mixes that I could make back at the Unit kitchen. Around mid October the support workers and the service users were allowed to go for Pub meals and drink's on weekends and was allowed to play pool at the Pub and watched Football on Sky TV. I also went Go Karting a few times in Cambridgeshire with other service user mainly from the young adult unit and the Owner told us that Rubens Barrichello the F1 Driver use to practice karting at the circuit we raced at.

              I was allowed to go out any time during day on my own so went for walks around Wyboston Village and around the Hospital premises and often met a lot of the support workers from first Unit while walking around and chatted to this female service user most days. I was allowed to go home for long weekends from Thursdays till Monday most weeks and was taken by the Hospital car by a very nice Driver, who picked me up again on Monday afternoon.

              At the beginning of November there was a Meeting about when I could go back home and start back at work again with my Psychiatrist, Gareth, Jenny, mum, sister and myself. The meeting was very positive and would have another final meeting in December to arrange a date to go back home.

              Dads Death:

              I went back home on the last day of November and at the time my Dad was ill in Hospital and had been there for a couple of days and was going to visit him the next day, my mum and I received a phone call from my Sister who was at the Hospital who said that she could not wake my Dad up and was very upset over the phone. My Mum went straight away I went an hour later with my Sister. When we arrived my Dad was breathing loudly and was very shallow with shortness of breath as if he was asthmatic. We all knew that he was gradually dieing and will not wake up again and knew it could happen at any time and when it does happen it is a big shock and very stressful and depressing.

              My Mum Brother and 3 Sisters and I were at his bedside and I decided to hold his hand and my youngest sister suggested that we say the Christian prayer Hail Mary and we was all saying it together and about 10 minutes after we said the Hail Mary and was still was holding my Dad's hand he stopped breathing and we all knew he had just died and he went very peacefully. It took a while for it to sink in and then the tears and hugs to console one another started. One of my sisters told a Nurse that our Dad has just died and she removed his oxygen mask and called a Doctor to confirm he was dead. My Dad died on Wednesday 30th November 2005 on St Andrews Day the Patron Saint of Scotland two days before my 27th Birthday so lost my Dad at a reasonable early age and was aged 84 when he passed away that was a good age to live to, he was in his late 50ts when I was born so always had it at the back of my mind that I will lose my Dad at a early age because of the age difference.

              The Doctor came and he confirmed my Dad was dead and naturally we were upset and also in a state of shock as it takes a while for it to sink in and become reality. We knew it was going to happen and my Dad did live longer then expected and was a real fighter and a strong character and a very much loved Dad and Grand Dad and would be greatly missed as a valuable much loved family member. My 3 other sisters arrived after my Dad died at the Hospital there was not much more we could do so left and went back home and had Supper. My Sister had come over for a visit from South Africa so all my 6 Sisters and Brother were in Birmingham. My Dads Funeral was the following week and Milton Park allowed me to stay longer at home till the Funeral had taken place.

              It would have been better if my Dad had died peacefully at his home rather then at the Hospital. My Dad died in a Ward full of other patients and relatives visiting them and the Nurse in charge could have taken my Dad to a private room. Everyone in the ward has a full view of my family around my Dads bedside as the curtains could not be drawn around the bed as there were too many of us. My Dad died just before 6pm during visiting hours and was not nice for my family and the patients and their relatives to see another patient dieing in front of them and most have been stressful and upsetting for them as well to see a human being die in the Ward.

              My Dad funeral arrangements was organised by my Mum and sisters and was transported from the mortuary at the Hospital to the Chapel of rest at the Funeral Directors that was s family run and was my Dad's wishes to have a Catholic based Funeral Director to arrange and organise and run on the day of his funeral. My Dad had already chosen the hymns he wanted during his funeral service and he fought in the 2nd World War as a Major in the Goorkhas and my Mum wanted to have a military themed funeral. The whole family decided to mark our final respect and went over to the Chapel of rest and at 1st was reluctant to go and it was a daunting and scary prospect seeing a dead corpse which is basically what was left of my Dad as we all knew he was in a better place in Heaven and was no longer suffering and was now at peace. When we got to the chapel of rest and saw my Dad he looked very peaceful and looked as though he was sleeping and to look at him would not think he was dead until you saw his purple lips and finger nails. I know that his physical body was now just a shell and his spirit and soul was in heaven and was watching over us making sure we were ok. I did not cry at the chapel of rest but some my Mum and some of my sisters got tearful and emotional so gave one another a group hug. What I found very moving and touching was my two nieces who were only young at the time had the courage to see my Dads body and they both left a hand written prayers and drawings beside him in his coffin and that remained in the coffin.

              The Funeral was held at St Mary's Catholic Church in Harborne, Birmingham the church that I was baptised at and some of my sisters got married at St Mary's as my Dad was a strong Catholic and was not going to be nice day and had to face it. My Dads coffin was taken to St Mary's the night before the funeral that Catholics traditionally do and my Dads coffin was put beside the alter and left overnight in the church. I felt emotional when the coffin was taken into the church as my nieces and sisters and mum started to cry so hard not to getting tearful myself.

              The day of the funeral was a sad and also a happy day as it not only a day to mourn it also a day to celebrate his life and achievements and meet up with all his family and friends at the reception after his funeral. It was nice to see my aunts and uncles and cousins again. The funeral took place on Monday 5th December 2005 at the Midday Mass that a daily Mass at St Mary's during weekdays. The Funeral went smoothly and of course the majority if family and friends got tearful that is perfectly natural and normal reaction. The Mass was dedicated to my Dad and the Priest did a fantastic sermon about my Dads life. Before end of the Funeral service I was allowed to put his World War 2 medals on his coffin and a Bugler played the last post that made most of his family and his friends shed a few tears.

              My Dads coffin was taken to the Cemetery where the Priest gave his final blessing as the coffin was lowered into the dugout hole. We all headed back to St
              Mary's for the Reception at the Parish Centre and I met all his Relations and Friends.

              Because my Dad was in the Army he had lots of his old army friends attending his funeral and one of his friends told me he had to shoot his own Soldiers who were badly wounded and were dieing from a slow death so had no option but to shoot them as there was no medical facilities in the middle of the Burma jungle and better to end their life there and then rather them have a slow painful death. It was also nice to see my aunts, uncles and cousins that I do not see very often. When my family and his close relations got back to my mums house we were in the drawing room and the lights started to flash and had a power surge and knew that my dad was showing that he was with us and watching over us all and wanted to show his presence.

              The Day after the Funeral I was taken back to Milton Park where there would be a second Meeting with my Psychiatrist, Jenny, Gareth, mum and one of my sisters. We discussed a date to go back to work and arranged a meeting with the Golf Club Secretary with Gareth Hancock and myself. I was still going home every weekend and was allowed to stay a week between Christmas and New Year.

              At the start of the New Year my Mum insured me to drive her car that was a Rover 400 Diesel SDI and drove it from Milton Park to Birmingham and is around 70 miles and takes around 1 and a half hours to drive to Birmingham. I wanted to get use to driving again as I had not driven for a long period and was worried that I might not be able to drive properly anymore and decided to face my fear head on and drive all the way to Birmingham. I started the engine engaged 1st gear and pulled away without any problems and Milton Park is down a county lane so could had time to get use to driving again before hitting the main road the A1 leading to the A14 to the Midlands and M6. I was a little bit nervous and apprehensive pulling away onto the A1 in case I stalled the engine and thankfully I didn't and drove all the way back to Birmingham without stalling the car once. Driving is like riding a bicycle as you never forget how to drive. I now had confidence again driving a car after having not driven properly before the start of my breakdown when I drove to Devon and back with my Mum, Dad and Aunt.

              Gareth Hancock came to Birmingham to see the Golf Club Secretary and Head Greenkeeper to discuss a start date to get back to work full time. I drove Gareth to the Golf Club where we met the Club Secretary and Head Greenkeeper who said they would let me start work on 6th February. I was then taken back to Milton Park with Gareth and would only be at the Hospital for another 3 weeks. The number 6th seems to be a lucky number for me work wise as I started work on Monday September 6th 1999 and now back after my breakdown after with a return date of Monday 6th February 2006.

              Milton Park Departure:

              I left Milton Park On Tuesday 31st January 2006 so had the rest of the week to settle down at home before starting back as the Golf Club after having had nearly 2 years sick leave. The morning arrived to leave and I said goodbye to all the support workers who looked after me so well and the service users and thanked them all very much for looking after me so well. I insisted that I wanted to drive back to Birmingham rather then my Mum to show the support workers and service users how far I have come since my arrival at Milton Park when I was not at all well mentally. We arrived back in Birmingham at my Mums house were I was allowed to live once again and only had my CD collection, Stereo System and some clothing to unpack from the car.

              A few days after arriving back home a Meeting was held at the 1st Psychiatrist Centre down the road from my Mum's House with the Hospital Psychiatrist, Jenny, Gareth, Sister, Mum and 2 men from Autism West Midlands. The meeting was a discharge meeting. I was told by the Psychiatrist that I should take 5mg Olanzapine rather then 10mg for another 6 months. I was now officially discharged from Milton Park Hospital. Gareth and Jenny had some presents to give me from the Hospital I got a beanie hat and gardening gloves for work. I was also given a farewell card from all the support workers and service users from the support workers from the two Units I stayed at and some thank you cards from individual support workers and service users that was a very thoughtful gesture and made me feel appreciated and liked as an Aspie and boosted my moral and confidence.

              My Mum has 2 kitchens in the house one was old and needed replacing and she decided that I should have my own Kitchen so I can do my own cooking and also have my own Lounge next to the kitchen and was allowed to use the Lounge as my own room and was allowed to lay out the furniture the way I liked and place my personal items in the Lounge.

              The Kitchen was built within a few weeks after coming back from Milton Park that was a very basic kitchen that was done at a discount price as my brother-in- law did office refurbishments and said he happy to install a kitchen in the my mum's house. The kitchen was very neutral with an oak finish and grey speckled work surface and was not too fussed about the quality and look as long as can cook.

              A Psychologist came for the first 6 weeks to my Mum's house from Milton Park to see how I was getting on. She asked me to do a list of activities I did during the day that she would check once a week on her visit. We discussed about what jobs I can get back into doing again and told her I was worried I might not be able to mow the greens properly anymore on the ride on mower and not do a straight line. Like driving you never forget to mow dark and light greens strips on a Golf Course using a ride on mower and did managed to mow ok in a straight line. During the 6 weeks that she came I bought a new Seat Leon that I saw on the Internet at a Local Garage that had the number plate from Birmingham that I was happier with then Leicester and ideally would have preferred it from the Worcestershire region.

              Visit From Local MP:

              I was in the front kitchen with my Mum and saw a lady going up the drive and said to my Mum that lady coming up the drive looks like our local Labour MP for Harborne, Edgbaston and Quinton region of Birmingham. Gisela Stewart was very helpful supportive during my breakdown with my family doing her best to get the right kind of help and support I desperately needed during my breakdown that was lacking from the local Authorities.

              The doorbell rang and my Mum answered the door it was indeed our local Labour MP Gisela Stewart who wanted to visit my Mum and I to discuss what happened over to me over the last few months. My Mum made Gisela Stewart a cup of coffee and she was very interested to know more about what Milton Park provides adults on the Autistic spectrum that was lacking very and told her about how Milton Park benefited me and gave her a leaflet of Milton Park that she took with her to discuss in Parliament about more support for adults on the Autistic spectrum that was lacking during my breakdown with very little help that led to my criminal convictions deepened my depression even more. A few days later we received a letter from Gisela Stewart that she wants more support for adults with Asperger Syndrome in the West Midlands region that was lacking very much and there was satisfactory support for children on the Autistic spectrum and very poor support for adults in 2006. Gisela Stewart was contacted when I was in Prison so knew about my case for a few months before her Visit at my Mums house.

              My New Car:

              I decided that I would buy a SEAT Leon instead of a SEAT Cordoba as the Leon model is a lot more poplar among drivers and a better star rating then the Cordoba model that so unpopular that they SEAT stopped manufacturing the Cordoba model in 2009 so had a good reason to get upset when I purchased a brand new SEAT Cordoba in March 2004 as only a small minority like this model and was one of the worse models that SEAT produced that only lasted for 16 years from 1993 to 2009. What really annoyed me was not being able to remove the top of the boot cover and the shape of the car was rather ugly and never even looked at the Cordoba when I was persuaded to buy the cat over the internet.

              I saw a red SEAT Leon on the internet and had only done 4500 miles and was more and less brand you and less then a year old that was used as a test drive car at the Garage and used briefly by one of the sale team and within my price range of £7495 as I had £8000 cash when my SEAT Cordoba was sold during my breakdown so could afford it ok. The SEAT Dealer was located in Birmingham and would have preferred buying a SEAT Leon from the Dealer in Droitwich.

              I went to look at it with my Sister and Brother in Law it was a red 2005 Leon S 1.4 petrol engine that was an ex demo car that had done low miles. The car number was an 05 plate an odd number and preferred a even year number and was not going to be too fussy about it as the price of the car was very competitive and reasonable and be silly not to grab the opportunity to buy the car. I looked around the outside and the interior of the car and straight away I liked everything about the car and even the interior was appealing as it was done to a very tasteful style. The red is not normally a colour I would chose but for this particular model a 2005 Leon it looked ok and suited it ok. The 2005 SEAT Leon S was of the last productions of the First generation model from October 1998 to May 2006 and the Second generation came out from May 2005 to February 2013. From March 2013 when the new 013 registered number comes out that was the start of the Third Generation Seat Leon.

              I liked straight away so paid a deposit down of £500, I did not test drive due to anxieties as I was worried I would stall the car or crash the car and do not feel comfortable having a stranger sitting beside me watching me how I drive. My brother-in-law kindly did the test drive for me and said it is nice and smooth to drive. I had to wait for a week to pick up my car up from garage and my brother-in-law drove it back to my Mum's House so I could get use to driving it in an area that I am more familiar with that reduces the anxiety levels. I decided to let my Mum be a passenger with me when driving my SEAT Leon for the very 1st time. I adjusted the seat and mirror engaged 1st gear lifted down the handbrake indicated and pulled away slowly and straight away felt ok and drove around the block a few times to get use to the drive and was very satisfied and happy as it very nippy for a 1.4 engine and pulls away quickly and the engine is very quiet that when the car is stationary and cannot tell the engine running. SEAT got taken over by Volkswagen in 1986 and was originally a Spanish car manufacturing firm and would say from the late 90's onwards SEAT has improved vastly and always keep up to date and the latest seat Leon range came out in spring 2013.

              Personalised Number Plate:

              I was not entirely happy with my number plate as it was an odd numbered year as my SEAT Leon S was 1st registered on the road on 31/03/05 that are all odd numbers and 2005 was the worse year so far in my life as I was on the brink of my breakdown and had been to for prison for 3 weeks on remand. My Dad died after fighting against Leukaemia and I lost my pet cat Sooty who got run over on a main road so had a good reason to dislike having 05 on my registration plate.

              Also the 1st two letters abbreviated a rude word as the car registration plate started with the letters BJ05 and got comments saying do you use your car to have a blowjob. Even though blowjob is one word you can still abbreviate the letters BJ and started to get angry and annoyed by these comments and needed to find a way to change the number plate to one that I liked without selling my SEAT Leon S as it had very low miles and very much liked the car apart from the number plate.

              At least it was not starting with the letter F the East Midlands that for some reasons does not appeal to me very much that triggered off my breakdown back in April 2004 shortly after purchasing the SEAT Cordoba in March 2004. The eastern Counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire use to and still are industrial towns and cities that does not appeal to me and that's just my personal opinion as I have nothing against the people that live and work in the East Midlands Counties. I had to work and live in the East Midland Counties it would make me feel depressed living one of the old industrial towns and that's why I dislike having F as the 1st letter on my number plate. There are some lovely old traditional towns and villages in the East Midlands region that are nice places to live and have just got use to living on the west side of the UK that feels more familiar and comfortable living in on the western side of the British Isle that's more appealing for me in particular that's just my personal preference.

              The South Midlands on the west side of the UK appeals to me more and always liked the Counties of Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Shropshire. When watching Top Gear they often have cars starting with the letter V from the County of Worcestershire as it a much more upmarket county and more appealing to the majority of people and rarely have the letter F on the number plate when test driving a new car. So just goes to show that even the BBC agree with me and rather have their test cars registered in Worcestershire rather then the East Midlands as they know is less appealing to show top executive cars starting with the letter F for the viewers as the County of Nottingham has the highest crime rate and gun related incidences in England so can see why the BBC decline cars registered in the East Midlands as it has a bad reputation for gun related crime.

              I decided why not have an personalised number plate as this would solve all the problems that the original number plate was giving me and looked on the DVLA personalised number plate website to see if I can find my suitable personalised number plate. All you have to do is type out what personalised number plate you would like to have on the DVLA Web Page that will do a search to see if its available or not and will tell you how much it will cost to buy the number plate of your own personal choice.

              I typed B17 NWC and the number plate was available and cost £300 which I could afford at the time as I had no mortgage or direct debits set up. B17 is the postcode for Harborne the area of Birmingham I was born and raised in. NWC are my initials Nicholas Walter Clarke. I was very satisfied that I found a number plate that I will always like and can have the same number plate for the rest of my driving years. I will only have to pay when I change my car to transfer and register the number plate to a new car otherwise does not cost me anything as you don't need to pay a yearly fee to keep personalised number plate and always thought you had to pay a yearly fee until the DVLA said once you pay for the personalised plate no more fees accept when changing car.

              Once the number plate has been approved and confirmed by the DVLA I had to got the Central Birmingham DVLA Centre based in the City Centre to get a updated tax disc and a Number Plate Authorisation Certificate in order to get a new log book and new number plate made as before a number plate can be printed you need proof that the number plate is a generic number plate and do not have a false number plate or duplicating using another cars number plate.

              To get number plates made you need your log book and your and can pop into shops like Halfords who can make a pair of number plate within 5 minutes I decided to have my number plate made up online as there are number plate printing companies that can make a customised number plates. I choose a bold chunky lettering and had a black bordering and a slogan at the bottom of the number plate saying AspieAreCool in bold red writing with the Autism Awareness ribbon symbol printed on the left hand side edge on the rear plate and just had the one plate printed plain as to save money as not many drivers and pedestrian will take notice of a front number plate.

              This solved my number plate issues and was now happy and content with my SEAT Leon S as no one can tell how old my car is another which is another good reason to have my own personalised number plate. I will always stick in future buying another SEAT Leon and ideally go for a turbo diesel model as you can do more miles to the gallon and is greener and save a lot of money on road tax by only paying around £100 road tax a year.

              I also love the sound of a diesel engine and the smell of the combusted diesel. This one of my positive sensory smells that appeals to me as those that are on the Autistic spectrum are more inclined to like bizarre smells and love the smell of combusted diesel.

              Working Full Time Again:

              On Monday 6th February 2006 I returned back to work full time after almost 2 years off work and since my time away from work two new Greens Staff had started working at the Golf Club. The Deputy Head Greenkeeper left at the start of my breakdown after having a successful relationship on an internet dating website and moved to Scotland that was a surprise with the Greens Staff as he was a proper born and bred Brummie as we like to call people that were born and live in the City of Birmingham and a passionate Aston Villa Fan.

              It was happy for him and at the same time upset and disappointed to see him leave as he always treated me in a nice way and we often met up outside work and was like having a big brother as we liked to watch Aston Villa play at Villa Park and Watch the Warwickshire Bears play at Edgbaston Cricket Ground and we both enjoyed going out for a curry and have plenty of Balti Houses in the City of Birmingham to choose from. My family also liked the former Deputy Head Greenkeeper and at work was a bit of a joker and could have a bit of friendly banter with him and made everyone laugh and smile and since he left the atmosphere changed and become too formal and conservative and too regimental.

              The new Deputy Head Greenkeeper came from Scotland down to Birmingham while the old one moved up to Scotland so was a coincident that the former Deputy Head moved north and the new Deputy Head moved south. The new Deputy seemed to be ok and did notice that everyone was a lot more serious with less banter in the rest room and missed the old Deputy Head Greenkeeper and did not seem to enjoy working as much as I did before my breakdown when I really loved and was passionate about my job.

              While I was off work for nearly two years during my breakdown a young apprentice greenkeeper took my place until I came back again and during my breakdown a Greenkeeper left and he got a permanent contract to work full time and theoretically he took over from me as the other Greenkeeper left while he was working as a apprentice during the summer of 2004 the busiest time of the year on a Golf Course. I was a little shy at 1st to get to know him and have a chat and was only 19 and seemed like a nice enough. Once I got to know him and started chatting we got on really well and could have a laugh and joke with him and got a dry sense of humour that I do not mind as I know he is only joking if he takes the mick out of me that some Aspies can take personally and cannot see that the other person is only having a laugh with them and do not intend to be hurting the other persons feelings.

              The Head Greenkeeper remained the same and t gave me easy jobs to begin with and would slowly give me more responsible jobs as the weeks passed by and soon got back into the swing of working on a Golf Course as an Assistant Greenkeeper. After a few weeks it felt like I never had time off work and all the Green's Staff had a better understanding about my Asperger syndrome after being told about the basics of high functioning Autism when Gareth Hancock the clinical psychologist from Milton Park visited the Golf Club with me before I started back again and we spoke to the Golf Club Secretary and Head Greenkeeper and also was given a basic leaflet explaining the basic about Asperger syndrome. At that time I did not have anxieties or panic attacks at work and did sometimes talk about the same thing too much.

              After a few weeks I started to mow greens again and gradually worked my way back to mowing all the areas on a Golf Course. I started cutting the semi rough, tees, mounds, fairways and greens surrounds and approaches. Before my breakdown I was working there for 4 and a half years with very few sick days off and always turned up on time for work at 6:00am till 3:00pm during the Spring and Summer and 7:00am till 6:00am during the Autumn and Winter plus working a few weekends and doing overtime during the peak if the growing season when there were many Competitions on the Golf Course.

              On the Wednesday 6th September 2006 was my 7th year anniversary at the Golf Club and I had settled in really well and have got on well with all the Greens Staff who sometimes like a bit of banter which is a good thing to have when at work 9 hours a day. We all takes turn's twice a month working a few hours during the Weekends 6:00am to around 8:30am mowing greens and checking the course during spring, summer, and less hours during the autumn and winter months during weekends. I saw my GP and was put on a lower dosage of Olanzapine from 5mg to 2.5mg a day as my GP did not think I need such a high dosage anymore and was on 10mg to start off with at Milton Park that made me feel tired all the time and felt like a space cadet.

              Bloemfontein South Africa:

              Since the start of my breakdown I never really had a proper Holiday abroad and decided to visit my sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew in South Africa. They live in a small City called Bloemfontein that held the 2010 FIFA Football World Cup when England got beaten by Germany 4-1 and knocked out of the World Cup.

              In late November 2006 my mum and I flew to South Africa to visit my Sister for 2 weeks in Bloemfontein. We flew from Birmingham International Airport via Frankfurt to Johannesburg with Lufthansa Airlines. We enjoyed our 2 weeks stay at my sisters and brother-in-laws house that had a swimming pool that I enjoyed using and because South Africa is so far south that it is on the southern hemisphere that it was summer there while in the UK on the northern hemisphere it is winter and always the opposite in South Africa the four seasons. It was nice to dip into the swimming pool on a hot day to cool down and my nephew aged 8 at the time was a very good swimmer and liked to swim under water and used me as his climbing frame with his best friend that I did not mind as I am his uncle and is good sign that we get on well and is very important that he likes me as his uncle and do admit have a childish sense of humour which is why I popular with my nephews and nieces.

              My brother-in-law is well known and famous in South Africa and was once the fastest white bowler in the World. Allan Donald is a well known face in the Cricketing World and is know as AD for short. AD played international Cricket and for the Warwickshire Bears at Edgbaston in Birmingham which is how he met my sister at a pub in Birmingham and was only 17 years old in 1987 when they met up for the 1st time. In South Africa he is a Household name and is the UK's equivalent to Sir Ian Botham and if you are walking with him at a shopping centre or out eating at a restaurant I notice people starring and pointing at him and often is approached for autographs. AD does fantastic BBQ's at his family home in South Africa as the South African give good portions of meat compared to the UK and is cheaper to buy meat in South Africa then it is in the UK. The two weeks flow by and caught a small plane back from Blomefontien Airport to Johannesburg International Airport to catch a connecting flight to Birmingham International via Frankfurt International Airport.

              Aircraft Technical Problem:

              The flight to Frankfurt International Airport departed to schedule and was a Boeing 747 and always liked flying in a large Aircraft. I do not mind flying and always enjoy the build up when the Boeing 747 is at the end of the runaway waiting for clearance from Air Traffic Control when all the lights and dimmed and Cabin Crew are asked to take their seats. It's a great feeling and sensation when the four jet engines thrust up and start to move forward and go faster and faster and can feel the force of the 4 jet engines as you going down the runway and then feel the Aircraft lifting into the air and can see a birds eye view of all the lights if it night time and the contours of the land in the daytime.

              We took off with no problems and could follow the flight path on the screen in front at the back of the seat in front on a destination map and the time it will take to get to arrive at Frankfurt. I noticed something very odd on the map as the pilot was flying around in circles around the outskirts of Johannesburg and at 1st thought the computer had a technical glitch and was showing the Boeing 747 going around in circles.

              The Caption then announced that there a technical problem with the landing gear and the wheels would not go back up into its enclosure and would have to land back in Johannesburg International Airport. The Captain said has to fly in circles for a while to dump the aviation fuel in order to make the aircraft lighter and safer to land. We had a German man who sat by the aisle and my mum sat in the seat in the middle and I sat by the window as mostly do to get a better view and can lean on the window with my head when trying to get some sleep and never can sleep on an Aircraft. He told us that Lufthansa take safety very seriously and had to dump aviation fuel that would not fall down as droplets and would disperse before it hits the ground and would not contaminate the soil, flora and fauna. The Captain announced we may experience a bumpy landing instead of saying an emergency landing as this would freak everyone out and cause panic among the passengers.

              Emergency Landing:

              We were about to land on the runway when the Caption decided to abort the landing and lift back up again that was rather daunting and did scare me. I now know why it was done so the under carriage could be inspected by the emergency services and aircraft engineers to give the pilot a report on the condition of the under carriage. A 2nd landing was attempted and my mum held my hand while we landed and this time we landed that was a bumpy as the curtain rail holder by cafeteria area where the cabin crew prepare the hot meals and drinks fell down with loud bang. There was a full scale emergency landing with a large number of emergency service vehicles with the sirens going and the lights flashing behind the Boeing 747 aircraft. Thankfully they were not needed and a precautionary measure that's a standard procedure if there is a technical fault with the aircraft.

              The Captain said the plane cannot be fixed and would have to wait till the morning for the replacement plane to arrive from Frankfurt that would fly over overnight and arrive in the morning. We had to get our passports stamped again and all the passengers had to collect their luggage and spend a night at a Hotel close to the Airport paid by Lufthansa and glad that we did not have to sleep in the Airport. By the time we had collected our luggage it was about 4am and had to be up by 6am to get to the Airport before 9am so ended up with no sleep at all due to what happened that evening. I could not get settle down to get sleep so waited till 7am to get ready to go to the Airport. Dawn had just broke when we arrived at the Hotel at around 5am and was not worth going to sleep if I could settle down to sleep.

              The next morning we arrived at the Airport at around 9am for the scheduled flight at 12pm and had to queue for a long time to get our boarding passes. While standing at in the queue we met some passengers from the UK and we all remained positive and even had a laugh over the whole situation. And said the Germans are well organised and as long as we get to our destination as it better to be safe then sorry and cannot always prevent technical and mechanical problems from occurring occasionally and we just happened to be the unlucky passengers. When we finally got our boarding passes and went through Customs and were waiting to board the aircraft we were told the aircraft was going to be delayed and will depart at around 3pm.

              We finally boarded the Boeing 474 and was an older plane the one that had problems with the landing gear that was a little nervous and apprehensive being in an older Boeing 747 as there a much higher risk that something might malfunction and was natural to feel this way after the experience all the passengers went through.

              We took off at just after 3pm and it took 9 hours to fly to Frankfurt International Airport and arrive just after 12am and I prefer flying during the daytime as you can see a lot more. I could see parts of the Africa Continent that you usually cannot see as it is pitch black and flights from Europe to South Africa are mainly night flights. When we landed the passengers clapped as they were all pleased to be back after such a long delay. The Pilot did a fantastic landing and could hardly feel the Boeing 747 touch the tarmac on the runway and kept very calm during the time when there was a mechanical fault with the undercarriage that must be ever pilots worst nightmare.

              There was no connecting flight to Birmingham International Airport till the next morning so had to spend another night at a Hotel right next to Frankfurt International Airport paid once again by Lufthansa. I managed to get a few hours sleep after nearly being awake for 24 hours and we had to be up early for the connecting flight. The connecting flight to Birmingham was fairly early in the morning so we left the Hotel without any breakfast that was a disappointing as I was really hungry and felt like a proper Breakfast. The flight to Birmingham left on time and got back to Birmingham at around 11am

              We landed on Sunday morning and missed my Nephew christening that all my sisters
              And brother attended in Leeds. We should have arrived on Saturday morning and would then drive to Leeds with my Sister to the Christening. It was nice to spend a night in my own bed even though I had to be up for work at 6:15am the next morning and was glad to get back home safely and did put me off flying for a while as they do say flying is safer then driving a car as think of how many flights there are a day and do not often get aircrafts crashing and killing all the passengers on board.

              Useful Links:

              http://www.brookdalecare.co.uk/www/index.php

              http://www.autismwestmidlands.org.uk/

              http://www.autism.org.uk/

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              06.06.2004 20:09
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              • "hard to understand"

              For many years, I locked myself away from the world. Not going out unless I really had to. Avoiding crowds. Cleaning my home like someone with a curse over them. I knew something was wrong with me, but I had no idea what. I would wake up in the morning, and wash myself vigorasly. I would wake my daughter, make her bath thoroughly, and strip down her bed, clean her room, and wash every item of clothing that was lying around. My daughter grew up thinking this was the normal way to do housework. Everything in my home had to have a place, a time to do certain things, but everything also had to be done in a certain way. Why did I do this?Because I was convinced if I didn't something horrible would happen to me or my daughter. You may wonder why I did this? Because I didn't know at the time that my *obsessions* were ocupying my mind to stop me from facing something horrid from my past. My family thought I was just over clean. Until I refused to eat at their homes. Until I refused to go to their homes. Until my daughter was not allowed to go there either. I feared contamination. It got so bad, I had to see the doctor. I dreaded this visit. I was convinced that the doctor would contact the authorities and take my daughter away. I knew the life we were living was not normal. I knew it was wrong to expect my daughter to live in this enviourment, but I had to seek help before I could change. Going to my doctor was the best thing I ever did. My doctor put a name to my fears.... 'obsessive compulsive disorder'. Apparently 10% of the population suffer this acute disorder, although all of us have a part of rituals that is normal. We all go out of the house and wonder if we switched off the cooker. We go back, check and get on with our day. But how would it be for you, if you went back and checked 33 times, and in the end didn't make it to where you were going because of your checking? Thats OCD. OCD, C
              an take on two main forms. Here are a few of mine. Obsessions= *********** I cannot take any medication unless I am supervised as I fear loss of control. I cannot even take a paracetomol without someone watching me as I can convince myself I have taken too many. Even though I never have! I have to count again and again how many I left. I write down the day, time and how many on the box, and check it again and again. I cannot go out without someone with me as I can convince myself that I will be hurt by an innocent member of the public. I will have a panick attack, and through getting away from the situation would risk getting ran over than walking alongside someone I didn't know. These are not only obtrusive thoughts but real fears. It has been explained to me that the reason this happens is the lack of ongoing messages to the brain. A message would be sent to the brain, and the action will be commanded. But in ocd sufferes, our message goes back and forth, making us check again and again until eventually the message is accepted and we go on as normal. Rituals. ********* These again take up hours of our day. Hand washing, to nuetralize the fear of contamination. Obsessive cleaning. Making a cup of tea would involve, scolding all the things I will use, ect. Also, please remember what I said about the message to the brain. Not only do we have long rituals, but if the message is not accepted, we HAve to start all over again. So what can we do as sufferes? ************************ The first thing is diagnosis. Before anyone can help you have to be diagnosed. OCD was taboo, many years ago. However, it is now a recognisable condition, within the mental health. ( you will not be able to claim any beneits though) Once you are diagnosed, you will be referred to a specialist. Usually a cognetive therapist. They would have experiece in this condition as we
              ll as being a fully qualified sycotherapist. What is cognetive therapy? *********************** It is what I personnally call 'aggresive therapy'. I call it this for the simple reason there is no sympathy for the Ocd sufferer, just therapy that forces you, in a civil manner, to face your worst fears. I have been in therapy now for three years, and have many more to face. It is not an easy process, but I am making steady progress. Gone are my obbsessive cleaning rituals. Gone is my fear of the crowds. I will tell you my first experience of my therapist. I call him 'my angel without wings'. I went to see him for the first time. I asked him how he was going to cure me, and he honestly replied ' we will face that horible past with you head on'. I told him I was leaving, and he told me go then. I went to walk out of the door, and his hand came over my head and held the door closed. He told me that if I could touch his hand, and remove it, then I could open the door and leave. I feared all the germs that were on his hand. I could not touch him, and had to sit back down. That day I learnt he would never hurt me. Every time I go now, we share a bag of sweeties, that we both have touched! OCD, is not curable. It is a condition that you have to learn tools to cope with. I have, and slowly my quality of life has changed from 12% to 55%. I have a long way to go. But I will get there. Update. ********* I now live quite a normal life. I still wash my hands 100+ times a day. My daughter, through me getting help was kept an eye on but was not removed from my care. I was able to eventually sit down and tell her what was normal and what was not. I explained and gave my family leaflets. I was lucky to have 100% family support. I am not abnormal, I just have issues in my past that I am dealing with. We don't go around with OCD writte
              n on our forehead, but if more people are aware of this condition I believe better understanding will help us all to face our fears and go forward. My daughter, luckily had no long term effect from this. She now lives in oxford, studying to be an accountant, and is aready an admin in a large firm. Did I mention she has acheived this and is only just about to become 19?!!!! I hope this has helped both people who have undiagnosed OCD,family and friends of sufferes, or anyone that is already in therapy. If you have any queries please email me. Long time sufferer, and recoverer. Dee xx

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                03.07.2003 02:20
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                I have been suffering from depression for over a year now and have been taking Cipramil (anti-depressants) since November 2002. I have written long, detailed opinions about both self-harm and the use of Cipramil already, but this opinion is specifically about those of us who are improving and aren’t quite so reliant on tablets. Cipramil has been a godsend to me and has really helped me climb out of the dark depths and head towards the light. I had been feeling much better, more confident, more able to do things around the house and to confront my fears. My GP seemed pleased with my progress and I was back on a daily 20mg dose again, after a while of 30mg. Last weekend was one of the best of my life. The Bristol meet was brilliant and I had more fun than I’ve had for a long time, with old friends and new. Allie and I had been organising things for six months and to see the meet so successful – despite some unavoidable hiccups – was a great reward. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. I came home at midnight on the Sunday and from there, the natural high of a wonderful, special weekend plummeted to a new low. The late nights (up ‘til 3:30am on the Friday!) and change in routine, added to my eating ‘issues’ - which meant I only seemed to nibble on lettuce leaves all weekend – meant I was physically and emotionally shattered. Instead of my kids noticing this and trying to behave, they seemed to be especially loud, annoying and confrontational. Everyone seemed to be making demands on me and I was out of resources. My head was going over everything again and again, my mind constantly chattering away so I couldn’t sleep ‘til past 2am. Adding to the lack of sleep over the weekend, I could feel myself becoming weaker. Because I hadn’t eaten much over the weekend, I felt sick if I ate much at the start of the week too. On Tuesday morning, I couldn&
                #39;t get out of bed to do the school run. I felt irrationally scared of Ciao and deleted my photo and profile, withdrawing as I do in real life in times of stress and when my depression is particularly bad. Someone once said of Scorpios (my star sign) that the quieter they are, the more upset they are – and this is certainly true of me. Today I stayed in bed again and the kids walked to school by themselves. I couldn’t get dressed or wash my hair or brush my teeth. I didn’t have the energy to get myself breakfast and felt sick at the idea of eating anyway. It sounds funny, but I didn’t even have the energy to take my anti-depressant! Around 10am, I went into the kitchen. I had been crying, my eyes were burning and I felt so deeply sad. I had been listening to the same song over and over and I felt trance-like, almost possessed. When I was a teenager, I self-harmed for a couple of years. That finished around 1987 or so. I hadn’t intentionally hurt myself for sixteen years and felt that had disappeared forever. Earlier this year, I came close, but appeased myself by shaving my arms, which seemed to help. Today I cut my left arm with a long kitchen knife some twenty times or so. I managed not to cut until they bled, but they scratched deeply enough to leave long red marks from wrist to elbow. I coldly compared our kitchen knives, finding the best one for the job. I honestly didn’t feel a thing and I could remember only three or four cuts, when my marks now number twenty. It helped. Afterwards, I felt calmer. I emailed my best friends Allie and Emily and their emails helped a lot. Emily has been through something similar (I’m sure she won’t mind me saying, as she has written an op on it herself.) and knows what I mean, where it can be hard for those who have never self-harmed (like Allie) to understand. This morning, I also noticed my rat’s tumours are getting
                worse and I have had to book her in to the vets to be put down this Friday. That didn’t help either, but Emily has promised to come with me and I know she will be my strength. Allie came round this morning within an hour or so of our email conversation and took us out. She had her daughter with her and the two little boys she child-minds. I couldn’t let them see me crying, so I had to pull myself together. Allie and I had a good chat in the car then she took me to Lush to buy me some presents and Burger King to feed me up. I felt much better by the end of the afternoon. Back home, I realised I had better let hubby know about my arm, rather than him just finding out when he got home from work. I returned his email about the vets and at the end, I wrote, “I'm shattered though, not slept today. I did scratch my arm a bit with a knife, but didn't cut it, so that's not too bad.” He rang me, concerned. I know it’s a huge step back and I am sad about that. However, it made hubby see how upset and down I was and the kids have realised that they can help too, even if it’s just by doing their share of the household chores. I didn’t do it for attention seeking. On the school run this afternoon, I took my coat just so I could wear it over my arm. I wasn’t happy that hubby told the kids – which then meant they came to have a look – but it was well-intentioned, even though it made me feel ashamed and a freak. Both hubby and my son said they’d have to hide the knives tomorrow, but as I explained, that wouldn’t stop me if I felt the need to. In the past, I have used metal compasses, razor blades and opened up paper clips to use the sharp end. Hubby emailed me this afternoon, heading them ‘Cipramil Watch’ to hassle me into taking my tablet. He is trying his best. I hate the idea that I am sliding down again. I feel I just
                want to hide away, to withdraw from everything, to stay in bed under the duvet. But I’m trying not to. If I don’t seem myself online or if I’m quiet for a few days, that will probably be why. I hope you’ll understand. With lots of hugs to Allie and Emily, who regularly save me in many ways. I love you both xxx

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                  13.03.2003 05:47
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                  Not sure if this is in the right section but wasnt sure where else i could put it. This review is written to hopefully give people an insight into living with amnesia and to help people appreciate what they have, because I didn’t realise what I had until it was gone. What was gone? My past, my history, my life as I knew it. For those of you that have read my review on meningitis will know why this happened. But for those of you who haven’t 3 yrs ago I contracted meningitis and spent a week in a coma. On coming out of the coma it is believed that I had lost a full 10yrs. I didn’t know I had been married (and divorced), or that I had a son. This was devastating for my parents, they had just been through the week from hell, and now they had a daughter who had no idea what was going on. But within a couple of day’s things started to come back, bits and pieces and thankfully the memory of my son. (My hero) Now three years on many things have not returned and I’ll just have to live with it, but it’s hard. At family gatherings, someone always says do you remember when, and I don’t. Looking at photos that I am in, so I know I was there but I couldn’t tell you when or where the photo was taken. Both my long and short-term memory has been affected. I have lost count of the times I set off upstairs to do things and when I get there I have no idea why I’m there. So I have to come back down. It usually take an hour or two and then I remember. I put things down then within minutes I can’t find them. This never seems to work with bills though, however hard I try I never seem to be able to loose them. I have lots of notes around my house to help me remember. My diary is full, even things like telling a friend I will phone them on a particular day. I have to write it down or I won’t ring. One thing I really struggle
                  with is when people are out of place. At work I could tell you everyone’s name but if I see him or her in town out of uniform I’m lucky if I can remember their name. So many times people have come and talked to me and after they leave I say to whoever I’m with “who was that?” It could be someone I went to school with, worked with in the past or even work with now but I have no idea. I registered for friendsreunited (which is a great site) but a lot of the people on the list that say they went to school with me I have no memory of. I never thought my life could be so affected by this. You don’t realise how important you memory is until you haven’t got one or you loose big chunks of it. Things that you talk about with friends. Places you’ve been, films you’ve seen, your favourite meal, your favourite colour. All these things I’ve had to relearn with the help of family and friends. I just hope they told me the truth! Do you need three guesses as to what my favourite film is? Something else that has happened is that I have what I call “false memory”, when we remember an event we do this from pictures, sounds, smells, things that we create so that in the future they will remind us of the event. When someone tells me about something that has happened I do the same thing, I then cant tell the difference between a real memory and one that I have created. There are plenty of things in life that we all want to forget our embarrassing moment’s etc but there are things that we never wanted to forget but I now don’t have much choice, they have already gone. With the help of friends and family I’m trying to get back the important things. Although one good thing to come out of all this is it all happened when I was 30, having lost 10 years that made me 20 years old. I could have lived my 20’s again. Umm not sure about that m
                  aybe I’m better the age I am. I have typed this in another review but “something’s I remember like yesterday and sometimes I don’t remember yesterday”. And the other thing God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change The courage to change the things I can And the wisdom to know the difference. Every day things come back and one day I that I will have most if not all of it back. I live in hope. Appreciate what you have (whatever it maybe) as you may never realise how important it is until it’s gone. Live life to the max. Life is far too short (especially when you loose big chunks of it) lol There is probally a lot more i could have written but i've forgotten lol lol and i think i may have bored you enough by now.

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                    18.12.2002 17:44
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                    • "May need supported living"

                    Although I now work as a decorator, I still like to keep up to date on things. My girlfriend Rachael still works in the Psychiatry field, so the information side of things has never left me, although the practical side has. Mind you, the practical side I will never miss, boring! Some of you may have read my op on Schizophrenia, I'd like to go into something called Korsakoff's Syndrome today. Right, let me make a start then. A deficiency in Vitamin B1 (thiamine) causes a memory disorder called Korsakoff's Syndrome. The most common cause of this is alcoholism. There are other causes such as Kidney Failure and 'hyperemis gravidarum'. The latter being a condition of extreme morning sickness in pregnant women. They suffer from a lack of thiamine because they vomit almost all of their bodies fluid and food. O.k, so the main cause is alcoholism. Why? Well alcohol is high in calories, as I sit here with a can of John Smiths. LOL. A person who suffers from alcoholism generally substitutes alcohol for food, therefore reducing their intake of other high calorie things that are nutritious . Most alcoholics considerably reduce their food intake, thus developing multiple vitamin deficiencies. Alcoholism also increases the bodies need for those B vitamins and interferes with the absorption of it from the intestine. Thiamine (vitamin B1) is involved in lots of reactions which provide your brain with energy. So those with Korsakoff's Syndrome cannot carry out those actions and the end product is not produced. For example: A person may need the toilet, but the actions that provide the brain to tell you to do so, may not tell your body to go, or the time may be slower. So, what are the symptoms. Difficulty in remembering things is most common. The area of the brain affected by the syndrome is the part which is known as the 'Diencephalon'. This is the part of brain that affects
                    your memory and the ability to store new information. Memory from past events is usually unaffected. A person can tell you what happened thirty years ago, but is probably unable to tell you what took place thirty minutes ago. The term used for this is called 'Anterograde Amnesia'. An occurrence that happens regularly in a person with Korsakoff's Syndrome, is something called 'Confabulation', this is where the person fills in the gaps in their memory with imagined information. Another regular occurrence is the complete lack of concern and unawareness when the memory loss is pointed out. How can we diagnose Kosakoff's Syndrome. O.K, someone you know has a problem with alcohol, then in turn they have difficulties in their memory, this doesn't mean that the person is suffering from Korsakoff's Syndrome, although it should be seriously considered and looked into because there are treatments. There is no specific test to diagnose the problem, although a thorough and careful examination of the person mental state is usually revealing. A persons ability to answer questions may be convincing, but we must always remember that they may be confabulating ( giving you imagined information). Therefore ask questions that are factual such as 'what is the name of Tony Blair?s wife?' to which they may answer George Bush. HA!...anyway, enough nonsense from me. Perhaps show a person 5 objects and get them to name them 10 minutes later, if anything is wrong here this points to Korsakoff's Syndrome. The treatment then. Persons suffer from a lack of Thiamine, so immediate administration of this is involved. Anybody who is in hospital because of Korsakoff's Syndrome will be given Thiamine. Recovery from the disorder takes months of Thiamine replacement. So what's the future like then? Sadly, 15% to 20% of people will die from the disorder. Half of those who survive will have w
                    alking difficulties. Nearly all people will have a memory impairment for the rest of their lives, only 20% of persons fully recover. Most will require supervised living accommodation. How do we prevent it? Maintain a good diet, however much alcohol you drink make sure your intake of vitamin B1 is sufficient, supplement your intake with vitamin tablets, but the most effective way is to not drink to much. Alright, I'm sorry for putting a downer on Christmas festivities but I really needed to get this of my computer. Cheers

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