35 New Scars
Author: Martin Haythorne
A question I have begun to ask myself regularly at the moment is “Do I need the services on offer?”
Originally I walked away from traditional services at 19 years old due to the fact that they could not decide what was “wrong” with me, while I decided to embrace the things that were “right” with me. The professionals involved in my care saw this as not dealing with the problems, I saw it as the ideal reason not to deal with them. I won because I am in charge of me.
During their “watch” I had my biggest suicide attempts, most episodes of self harming, was the most regularly overwhelmed and developed a taste for class A drugs, alcohol and being homeless. I don’t advise it as a career move, although the rent is cheap.
Later I began to treat myself as one of the puzzles I adored, which led to me seeing out an independent organisation and being diagnosed. That diagnosis helped me work out the puzzle further. Although solving the “other people” puzzle still eludes me I have achieved three key things following caring for myself, once thought impossible.
I have a mortgage, have had a career and have a wonderful wife and fantastic children, none of which was achieved while under the support of professional services in any way.
It’s painful to have these things; the anxiety of the mortgage and the noise and unpredictability of the children can burn like a flame to an Aspergic. Taking my son bowling for example can leave me recovering from the lights, smells and noise for 3 days but that is my choice as a father. What I accept is that I made the decision to become a Dad, which fits with Aspergers Syndrome well. Everyone knows what a good Dad is so it is not a confusing job description.
Everyday life is still painful, and I regularly put myself in challenging situations of my own free will. This is because I am brave and challenge myself, and with the correct support I can recover quickly and get on with being Dad.
3 years ago things became extra tough and I reached out for the help of professional services. The situation that was driving me back into isolation and self harming was easy to explain and evidence. I had read a little about Personalisation and realised that for the first time I could actually get help to support myself care. It took 3 years to get from my referral to my gateway assessment and 6 months after that I have received 2 pieces of support.
- A Community Psychiatric Nurse. I have spent 2 hours with her in 6 months.
- Acceptance Commitment therapy. I have been studying Mindfulness for 18 years.
The results of 6 months of professional services therapy are:
- 35 new cuts
- A FACs Assessment that says a therapist is somehow managing my Aspergers Syndrome
- A decision I am not entitled to a Personal Budget
- A meeting with a Psychiatrist who agrees I have Aspergers Syndrome
The net gain of my 6 months with professional services is 35 new scars.
With the concept of personalisation and direct payment, the biggest expert on my condition that exists in the universe could have been involved in shaping my care. I have spent 40 years wondering what people's facial expressions mean, being unable to take a hot shower, hating sleeping indoors and spending hours agonising over which socks to put on. I have organically developed a niche support plan, which includes a Border Terrier named Professor Biscuit, a terribly old Japanese import van and catching less fish than Adult Social Worker of the year Kelly Hicks.
The publisher is The Centre for Welfare Reform.
35 New Scars © Martin Haythorne 2012.
All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.