Aspergers and me

I have shared many personal thing’s about myself in this blog. In the hope they resonate with other parents who may be experiencing the same emotional difficulties and may be seeking a way to overcome them, and to let them know that they are not alone and that there is a solution.

There is however one aspect of my life that I rarely share with other’s. Partly because it’s too difficult to explain to someone who doesn’t live with it. And also because it’s something I rarely think about. Yet now as a parent it is something that crosses my mind more as I watch my daughters grow and develop.

At the age of 34 I was diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome. Autism runs in my immediate family, so for me not to get coloured with a brush of a neurological difference in the way I see and process life would have been a small placed bet.

As I child I was problematic (only to others) as my ADHD caused issues with my schooling and home-life. My complete lack of concentration and inability to operate at less than a hundred miles an hour was not really understood, so I was seen as a problem child. I struggled to learn as others did. I took everything that was said literally which also caused me confusion. As a result, along with other emotional problems I was experiencing I quickly felt my difference and separation from the world around me.

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The world became confusing pretty quickly

I soon made the decision that to fit in I needed to learn from watching the way others acted and interacted, and do what they did. I didn’t always learn from the best examples or get it right. That acting became exhausting and caused depression and anxiety. I became a bit of an oddball. I was either over the top and taking things too far, or sinking into depression at my inability to be like I wanted to be. And then came alcohol. And with alcohol came a new freedom and answer to my social problems.

In retrospect my saving grace (although it didn’t seem it at that time) was that I left home early. Just before my 15th birthday. I was forced to learn to live in a world I didn’t understand with people I didn’t get. In truth it was alcohol that gave me all I needed to cope and get by. And without alcohol, the traits of Aspergers along with my other mental health problems made my inability to react with others and deal with the stresses of daily life stick out like a sore thumb. My frustration’s only grew with my feelings of seperation.

Getting diagnosed was like a one-tonne penny dropping. And since understanding Aspergers more I have come to understand myself more. And nothing has helped me deal with the anxieties that I experienced with it more than the mediation I practice, the one I share the link to on my menu page.

Occasionally my traits become apparent. Now and again my wife will jokingly tell me to ‘put my Aspergers away’, she is more aware of my traits then me at times.

Nowaday’s it affects me less, as over the years I have become more comfortable with myself and realised It’s okay not to have to force myself into situations I don’t want to be in. I’m still not overly comfortable in social situations (unless i’m performing as a misician), and tend to stay away from interacting with others. It takes an effort for me to do things that others do naturally. I’m a crap conversationist but I love to write. So I have found a road to expression in this blog and the book I have written.

People have told me there is a good chance that the triplets may find themselves on the autistic spectrum because I am. And I do think about it from time to time. Perhaps they will be – or maybe they won’t. Even so, there is nothing wrong in seeing the world from a different perspective than most. And if they are, at least I have the understanding now to support and guide them.

 

3 ridiculous comments I made as a new dad

Being new to newborns, and being green to the whole experience it was inevitable I was going to have some preconceived ideas as to how it was going to be. There we’re times I was even so naive to believe it was going to be an easy ride. I know – it’s hilarious isn’t it!

As a first timer, and looking back in retrospect and slight embarrassment at some of the ridiculous thoughts, and passing comments I made along the way. I thought I’d list a few of them, in no order of foolishness.

1.  All they do is sleep, this could be a lot easier than everyone has told me it would be.

This bonkers thinking was precipitated by my experience with preemies. As the babies were seven weeks premature, all they did was sleep, wake up for a feed then go back to sleep. I remember sharing this experience of my perfect sleeping triplets to the other dad’s at work with an almost smugness, after they had all told me I would be most likely be riding into the gates of parental hell with three babies to deal with. And once they hit their due date and their hormone’s kicked in I had no smugness. Just the realisation my fantasy of three perfect sleeping babies was now smashed into a million pieces. I was wrong. horribly wrong.

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Hi Daddy, we’re here!

Now, I’m not a superstitious man. I don’t believe I have the universal powers to change events in the world by opening my mouth and uttering a few words. But I do believe a stupid comment can quite happily boomerang to bite me on the arse. As it has done many times in my life. Here’s one example.

2. Teething isn’t that bad.

And to begin with it wasn’t. We had a few grizzlies and sore bums but all in all I really didn’t know what all the fuss was about. And then came…….The molars. And with the molars came the ear infections, the viruses and the edge if sanity for my wife and me. It was horrendous. There may be exceptions to the rule, babies who sail through the process. But for us, dealing with the triplets while those bad boys pushed through wasn’t easy. Once agin I had allowed myself to get complacent along with my expectations. Teething sucks!

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A quick trip to the doctors with nasty ear infections only confirmed that teething sucks

3. They’re sleeping really well at the moment

What was I thinking! Another comment thrown out in the earlier months to anyone who happened to ask if we got any sleep. Again I don’t believe I can change the course of worldly events with my comments. Yet every time I dropped that comment, we could pretty much guarantee that the babies would then go through some sort of hormonal brain leap that would totally unsettle them and hurl us once again into sleep deprivation, onset insanity and involuntary eye twitching. Lesson learned. Just say nothing.

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It’s on!

I have learned over time as a newby not to have expectations. And not to get complacent when things are running smoothly. Being a parent is about rolling with the punches and going with the flow. Things can change in an instant. The best I can do is be prepared for anything. And not to think I have any real idea as what my babies may do next.

 

The meditation

As a parent stress is inevitable. Demanding routines can seem relentless as we all face the pressures of daily life. It can be all to easy to become consumed by the agitation and anxieties that crop up throughout the day. And when those negative emotions start affecting those closest to us all sorts of problems arise.

As a someone who has overcome serious mental health problems and alcoholism, it is crucial that I remain emotionally consistent for my family. I do that by way of a unique Non contemplative meditation I found a good few years ago. This doesn’t mean I’m a perfect human being, I’m definitely not a parenting Guru. But I am improving. And life is about moving forward. I want to be the best man I can be for my children.

Now this isn’t a sales pitch. Nor I am telling you that this meditation is for you right now. It may not be. Only you will know if you are at a time in your life where you are open-minded to facing the pressures of life in a way you may never have done before. From a place of conscious awareness.

If you are up against the stresses of balancing work and home-life, or if you are a stay at home parent you will know what it is to feel overwhelmed occasionally by your situation. There’s no escaping the temptation to resent the cards we’ve been dealt with, only to suffer the emotional pull of guilt for feeling that way about the people we love. Parenting is an emotional rollercoaster. One that should strengthen us – rather than beat us down. The key to meeting stress lies in a very special meditation exercise.

Coming from a broken, unstable home, I know full well the effects growing up in a stressed environment can have on a child. It is why I feel it is so important to share this free meditation exercise with you. The link is below.

I am not a buddhist, nor do I associate to any religious organisations. I have no guru and I am not part of any cult groups. I do however have a faith, which was acquired through my own personal experience. I am simply a working man who has discovered a way to live consciously in the stream of life, free from emotional conflicts and free to be of use to those who rely on me the most.

By discovering the present moment and living consciously, I have also found a way to raise my family with the principles of love, patience and tolerance so my children can thrive in a relatively stress free environment.

https://schwarzhoffmedia.com/non-contemplative-meditation/

#MyAnxietyMeans

Flicking through social media today I have read many tragic posts from people suffering from anxiety with the hashtag #MyAnxietyMeans. I write the following as someone who suffered for decades with no real clue as to why I felt the way I did under the surface. And why nothing I was offered as treatment brought any real permanent relief.

To read the experiences of people who have spent years needlessly on medications sharing their experiences of fighting what they believe to be an illness is heartbreaking. Their fight is driven by misinformation and a misunderstanding of a symptom that most professionals are at a loss as to how to treat it. The only real offer of help comes by way of anxiety management therapies, distractions and medications. The first problem is that it is treated as an illness. And it isn’t. It is a symptom.

To solve any problem, you need to understand whats causing it. And until you get to the cause all you have are symptoms. To treat anxiety without resolving the cause is like having a rotten tooth. Yet ignoring the tooth and focusing all energies and time on managing the pain the tooth causes.

Anxiety is a symptom of an internal conflict. Somewhere along life’s journey resentment/fear has pierced you. It happened during an event that caused you to react in anger. That event may be big or small, but either way it caused you to emotionally react, and when you did you allowed a negative force to pierce you. That negative force is resentment. And it is the cause of all the discomfort within you don’t understand. It is the cause of all the negative thinking you experience and the depression that cloaks you. It is the cause of anxiety and being spiritual in nature is why talking cures, therapies, medications only serve to suppress and distract from the underlying resenment and fear you experience and cannot understand.

There are forces of light and darkness in this world, and we are spiritual being’s who are naturally affected by these forces. If you suffer from mental health problems and the angry negative thinking that controls you and causes you to suffer, you will already be aware of this. You are not mad to have questioned your conflicts as being more than anything anyone else would understand.

To recover from anxiety and begin to experience freedom from fear and negative thoughts, all you need is to be freed from resentment/fear. To allow a supernatural force of light to remove it.

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Simply notice the lights

This is a link to a unique meditation that will allow that to happen. It’s completely free with no hooks into religion, books to buy or guru’s to follow. And if you are willing to be still, and allow light to remove the darkness in you. To awaken to the state of awareness of yourself and the world around you that you were born with, long before the world corrupted your spirit. Your problem will be solved. In-fact, all of your mental health problems will fall away without any effort on your part.

I have read more than once that there is no magic wand that can undo years worth of suffering.

I’m telling you that there is.

https://schwarzhoffmedia.com/non-contemplative-meditation/

The reconnection of a relationship after children

If you are a parent with newborns, or young children you will be aware that things change between yourself and your partner. Those changes most likely began with the pregnancy. You may also be wondering if your relationship will ever be the same?

My wife and I didn’t sail into the pregnancy in a good place together. We had dealt with the stress of moving house a month before we discovered we had triplets. And we were also dealing with a couple of years filled with disappointment in failing to conceive. We did have the occasional spark of hope, which sadly turned out to be false positive tests. There was a building tension in our marriage that was reaching breaking point. Then BOOM! We were thrown into a high risk pregnancy and there was no going back.

From the first scan it was like we veered off in different directions emotionally. My wife consumed and struggling with the fears and risks involved with our situation. And me doing my best to remain conscious and keep my family calm and together. There was a disconnect between us throughout the whole pregnancy. We may have been under the same roof, but we weren’t together.

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The next time we would reconnect was in the NICU with the safe arrival ou our trio. We finally landed on the same page. Brought together by the love, relief and joy at the safe arrival of Ava, Blakely and Lacey.

As we brought them home my wife, and rightly so, became completely focused on the babies’. As I had stayed solid through the pregnancy, we now switched roles. As Stacey found her instincts as a mother, I began to sink into depression under the pressure of home life, work and sleep deprivation. My wife  was too focused on her job to hear my problems as I struggled with my sanity. I once again felt as far apart from my wife as we were during the pregnancy.

I became consumed with the fear that before she fell pregnant we were a couple unhappy. And that maybe we would never reconnect as the couple who were once in love. I felt on the outside looking in on our home life, even though I was completely involved as a father. tiredness can do horrible things to a mind. I became paranoid that our relationship was done. That It was now her and the babies. That I was no longer an interest in her life. self-pity was creeping in. And it wasn’t who I wanted to be, man consumed with myself and my doubts. I would be no use as a father in that place.

Looking back It took one thing for us to reconnect as a couple. Patience. My wife had been through the mill with the pregnancy and was finding her place as a mother to three babies. As I was finding my role. Which was just to support her and be patient. To not make my fears and anxieties an extra weight to put on her.  All I needed to do was to be of use, to my wife and stay involved with my daughters.

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It was only when I began to step back from pressuring her, and let go of my fears and doubts about our relationship that we begin to find each other again. We needed each other more than ever. And She needed all the space and support I could give her. Of course things have changed. But those massive changes have only bonded us closer as a family finding our way in a surreal situation.

My job a s husband has always been to support my wife. My job as a father in the beginning was no different. Be patient and you will almost certainly meet again. And discover the love you once had will have gone no-where,

 

 

 

Note as a step Dad

Eight years ago my step daughter Frankie lost her biological father to suicide. It is an event no child should have to experience. Or any parent should have to go through.

Frankie was turning six when I first met her. She was a quite little girl with a lack of confidence and a sadness about her. Although she didn’t remember the event, the emotional trauma surrounding it had stayed with her. All she wanted was a daddy like her friends had. She was aware of her difference.

Becoming a father figure in Frankie’s life was not going to be easy. It was going to take a huge commitment from me to step into that role. My relationship with Frankie was going to be as important as my relationship with Stacey.

There were times it was hard for me to hear her talk about her real dad early in the relationship. But it was only my pride being dented. And pride had no place in my relationship with her. I was the grown up, and she had every right to express her feelings toward her biological father. From me a show of patience and consistency would be all that was needed for our relationship to grow into a trusting connection.

As a result of my effort she slowly began to grow in confidence, in every aspect of her life. And I had the honour of being a part of her growth. She had a lot to get through emotionally and I had to be willing to help with that process.

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On my wedding day to Stacey I also had vows written for Frankie. I had a ring made and made sure she was included in the day. I made a commitment under God to do to my best to love and take care of her until the day I died. She began calling me Daddy from that day on. And I am incredibly proud of the kind and caring young girl she has become.

I feel no less love for Frankie than I do the triplets. They are all my daughters, they are all my responsibility. They all have an equal place in my heart. For the many mistakes I have made in my life, to now see the difference a loving father can make in the life of another is like finding one of the keys to life. But it takes work and a willingness to change and grow as a human being.

Her fears around the triplets arrival were understandable. I have made sure she has been loved and included, right from the start of the pregnancy. She is an amazing big sister and loves the triplets more than anything.

I am lucky to have met such a beautiful little soul. She has blessed my life more than I can express. And I am proud to be called Daddy by her.

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The triplets second Christmas

Back injuries and nerve pain aside. We have made the most of our time away. Even though I was back in hospital having an MRI on new years eve we still made it home in time to celebrate with the family and see 2019 in with a lot of laughter and joy.

Problems aside I can honestly say I have loved being away with my family over the last couple of weeks. The triplets developments in every aspect has come on leaps and bounds with so many others to help out and play with them.

Christmas day morning was special. We only got them a couple of presents each and to see how exited they got that they had more packaging boxes to sit in and some wrapping paper to play with was priceless.

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Three excited babies

Ava and Lacey have become much more confident, especially in interacting with others and wandering off to do other things. Grandad hasn’t had a moment’s peace, he is now followed everywhere by the two. For Stacey and me this is a good thing. whereas before we were the only one’s who could really pacify them when they were tired, now they are happy with anyone. To be honest they aren’t overly bothered with us as parents, they’d much rather be with other people, specifically following Grandad around, or dancing to the singing Christmas tree in the hallway.

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Ava and Lacey found in the dogs bed after another little adventure together

Blakely has even taken a few steps on here own. She is not far from catching her sisters up with walking and has now decided that getting dressed or having a nappy changed is worth a fight and a screaming fit. Our little firecracker has returned. And although the smallest is by far the strongest. She also has found new words. specifically ‘Whats that’? Followed by a look of aw. It’s hilarious. They have all become so animated in their characters.

Frankie has also had a break from the babies and had time away to play with her cousin. As a family, to get away this year has been much-needed in the scheme of things. A break from routine and extra help is always appreciated. And Frankie needs the break as much as we do.

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Blakely’s best friend Milo. He gets cuddle whether he likes it or not

We are blessed to have Stacey’s big family to be able to accommodate us and help us out. This weekend we will be heading back and the priority will be getting my health sorted. It won’t be easy on my wife as I am unable to pick up the babies at the moment but I am praying that it gets sorted soon and will do everything to get my strength back.

It’s been a great Christmas despite the problems that have arisen and we have made memories that we’ll cherish.

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Despite the pain and problems there is no place I’d rather be than with my family

 

 

 

 

 

Thrown into debt by Universal credit – help we didn’t need

As a the pregnancy sank in so did the realisation that we would take a financial hit as a family of three – with another three on the way. We felt it wise to ask for help from the Government as my wife would be unable to continue her work,

We applied for universal credit unsure of what we were entitled to. And as we were eligible for help proceeded to make a claim. Any young family in our situation will have done the same. And sadly many young families like us will now be financially suffering the consequences of this shambles of a scheme.

This isn’t a rant. I don’t like to publicly rant about anything. But I do feel it necessary to raise a little awareness of what others may be facing who are using this financial help scheme.

In short we filled in the forms, included all our information about my earnings. Made sure we gave them every relevant piece of information about our income as we know that overpayments can create unwanted debt.

An amount was settled based on our income and our family situation. We questioned on more than one occasion that we were receiving the correct amount. We were honest and transparent from the start. Over the last 18 months I have contacted them twice to inform them of the pay rises I had received to ask how they would affect our payments. My enquiries were discussed and cleared up.

I contact them this week to inform them of my change in circumstances as I will be facing back surgery and unable to work for the recovery period. It was during this call they realised they hadn’t included my income from our original claim. They somehow missed it due to a human error on their part.

As a result of this error on their behalf we were overpaid a staggering £13.500.00 which we have been told is our responsibility to pay back, and with me now facing back surgery and an uncertain future within my chosen profession it is a massive blow to my family. I was offered an apology and told the debt management team would be in touch.

As a family we will do what we need to get by. But we have been let down by the scheme that was supposed to give us support when we needed it. It’s why I pay my taxes and national insurance. We had no other choice but to apply for their help.

If you are a family using this scheme I really hope it works for you. But for us, now with a huge debt and a big drop in income. We have been failed badly through no fault of our own.

 

 

 

Uncertainty

As a husband and a father of four I have a big responsibility to bring consistency to my family. Not only emotionally but also as far as my physical health goes.

Dealing with triplets takes a level of physical fitness, and on top of my full-time job I rarely get a chance to rest. As someone who is not academic my work has always been physical. From working on building sites in my earlier days to now working with metal I am not one to shy away from hard graft. In a way I pride myself on my work ethic.

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My lunchbreak office

Over the years I have had little problems that most in my line of work suffer from. The occasional back ache and the odd pinched nerve and in my chosen proffesion there is a get up and get on with it attitude. It may seem a bit stubborn but at the end of the day work pays the bills. No work – no money. I also want my girls to grow up knowing that a man works to support his family. That he doesn’t shirk from his responsibilities.

Over the last few months I have gradually been struggling more and more with nerve pain in my face and my head. And an angry bad back and hip pain that has slowly gotten worse. It has made physically dealing with home-life and work almost intolerable. I have had to give in to taking medication for the pain and am exhausted from my daily activities. I have not been myself and have had to keep myself in check. There has been constant temptation to get lost in fear in not knowing what is wrong with me.

An MRI scan before Christmas has ruled out MS as far as we know. But it has also revealed a number of problems at the base of my spine which could mean corrective surgery to fix the damage in the coming weeks or months. Problems that have been caused by nothing more than wear and tear from the job I do. I could be facing a long spell from work which will bring its own set of problems.

It has left me concerned about what we may be facing as a family. At the moment I am struggling to walk for any length of time and am run down by the pain. Everything is hard work. Thankfully we are away at my wife’s family over the Christmas period so we have plenty of help and I get a chance to rest a bit and take stock of our situation.

It seems the challenges keep coming our way. And I am having to stay watchful of the negative emotions that are arising from my situation. Negativity that could affect my family if I allow it.

But for now we will make the most of the help we have and enjoy the time away. We are blessed to have such a big family on my wife’s side to offer us a hand. And whatever the near future may bring we’ll deal with it. Because that’s just what we have do.

 

A time for forgivness – but how?

Christmas is a time for family, for giving in a spirit of love. No matter what you believe or don’t believe. It is a spirit that revolves around this time of year more than most.

Many say it is a time for forgiveness. Of those who have wronged or harmed us yet for most the ability to forgive has been lost. Exactly how do we forgive the people in our lives that seem to create conflict in us? those who drive us to react with bitterness and judgment for the injustices they cause.

To forgive is simply to give up anger. To not hate. Yet it’s easier said than done when the emotional negative pull of the memories of yesterday or even the events of thirty years ago still have the power to upset us. As the thoughts arise – so does the anger. We seem tied to our resentments through our thinking. And it is exactly  how we remain attached to the negativity.

As long as those negative thoughts have the power to affect us emotionally, we will never have the freedom to forgive. Because we cannot let go.

It took me a long time to discover a way to overcome the judgments, the anger and depression my thinking created. And whilst trapped in my own thinking I could never know peace, never know love or be of real use to those around me. I was a prisoner of my own mind. And hard as I tried to forgive and forget, something deep inside me wouldn’t allow me to. As the constant judgment and anger I felt towards others grew and turned inwards – so my depression took a stronger hold.

The problem was my thinking. It was simple. I needed to find a way to observe the relentless rising negative thoughts in my head without becoming attached and ovwewhelmed by them. To separate from them.

To be able to observe them from a neutral position. From a place of consciousness. It is also in that place of neutrality we become connected to a natural intuition. Free from emotion and free to act without anger and fear. To act with courage and grace. The ability to forgive exists only in the present moment. When we are connected to a supernatural force of love. It is real and available to everyone, no matter who you are or what you believe.

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There is a saying that light can overcome darkness. It is more than just a metaphor. And if you are willing to sit still for 12 minutes twice a day. You will have your own experience with a very special conscious awareness that holds the key to all of your problems.

This is not a sales pitch, it is a very powerful awakening exercise. And only you will know if you are ready to begin. If you do, welcome to the fourth dimension of existence. And welcome back to the lost conciousness you were born with.

https://schwarzhoffmedia.com/non-contemplative-meditation/