Staying Well

I have been diagnosed with Autism and Schizoaffective Disorder so staying well is my main priority. I tend to follow set routines and habits as it’s what I prefer from being Autistic and it also regulates my mood. I have had a history of depression and mania so ensuring I don’t get too upset or too elevated are not far from my mind. Things not being how I like them to be (I need consistency) is often down to being Autistic. Otherwise I can get agitated.

I always begin my mornings with a cup of tea and Frosties cereal. It was how it was when I was a child and I find this soothing today. Sometimes I have a bacon and egg sandwich but that is a rarity and usually a long while after waking up. I struggle to get up thanks to the sedating medication I take so I have a smart light programmed to turn my bedroom light on with my Echo Dot playing “Beautiful Day” by U2.

Once I’m up, like most people I clean my teeth, wash my face and get dressed. I usually shower the night before as I struggle to get going in the morning. Depending on appointments I will be straight out the door or on a Sunday morning I will go to Church. Otherwise I’m usually very slow in the mornings. It takes time for my medication to wear off. I usually make a Pepsi Max with my Sodastream to give me an extra caffeine hit in the late morning.

A lot of my mental energy seems to be consumed with managing the home. I live a short walk from Aldi so I am usually in there 2 to 4 times a week. I usually get a basket of things for 1 shopping bag but sometimes I will take a trolley round and carry 2 bags home. Lately I have got in the habit of going to Aldi on a Saturday to shop for the food bank and I drop my donations off at Church on the Sunday morning. I also need to go to the pharmacy every 2 weeks now for my medication. That is nearby to me too.

I try to keep in the habit of cleaning my bathroom and kitchen fortnightly. Usually I do them on alternate weeks though lately they have been done on the same week.I note this in my Google calendar so I keep track of it all. I also wash my bedding and towels once a week too. These are tracked in my calendar as well. I often programme my washing machine in the evening to come on in the morning so the washing is ready to hang out on the line first thing in the morning. My washing machine is plumbed in my bedroom so it also helps wake me up in the morning.

Cleaning my kitchen and bathroom usually involves starting from the ceiling (I get mold in winter) and working my way down to using a Speed Mop for the floor. I tend to vacuum the flat when needed. I have a duster and clean the surfaces in my bedroom.

My bedroom is my main living area. I have my television, blu-ray player and Xbox. As well as my single bed I have an armchair, side table and floor lamp. I often sit in my armchair where I watch Star Trek (I own almost every episode on DVD), BBC News, play Xbox or watch relaxing nature videos on YouTube. I also like to read and interact on Twitter. My Snoopy plush toy is also comforting but I also have squidgies that are good for stress too.

Late evening is a ritual for me. I will have a shower and get into my pyjamas. I will take my medication and read a few chapters of the Bible. I have a rough plan and routine in how I read the Bible. At the moment I do 2 chapters of the New Testament from the NIV Bible, 2 chapters of the Psalms from the King James Bible and 2 Chapters of Proverbs from the English Standard Version Bible. Afterwards sometimes with Jam and Toast where the Jam represents the blood of Christ and the Bread the Body of Christ I will say a prayer. I sometimes talk to Christ about my day, thank him for my life being so fortunate and say prayers for other people.

I keep my Medication organised in a pill box. I have to remember to regularly keep it in order. Sometimes I have to adjust my dose of promethazine depending on how I feel. If my mood is elevated in the evening, I will take more promethazine to help me sleep. Sleep is very important to me. A lack of sleep helps contribute to me experiencing psychosis. Psychosis is where I have experienced delusions and hear voices. I also have Alexa from my Echo Dot and phone send reminders during the day. One reminder is when to shower, take my medication and go to bed. Sometimes I can get pre-occupied (like with my phone) and lose track of time where it gets too late.

Now it is Summer I am finding I need to maintain the garden. As a tenant its my duty to maintain the garden. I have to ensure the grass is cut and the hedges don’t grow too out of control (I do worry about my neighbours complaining). This is my first summer here and it is turning into quite a job. I have a few flower pots now. I do mean to plant some flowers but I haven’t felt up to it lately.

I like to do things that help others when I can. I’m about to start volunteering for a homeless charity for half a day a week. Though nothing social, as I struggle with too much socialising (particularly with people that want too much and don’t take no as an answer). My role will involve organising the food donations and making a few food parcels. My understanding is these are delivered to people who were previously homeless.

I’m also on a depot medication which I have every 4 weeks in the mental health clinic. I also have my lithium levels measured in my blood and kidney function checked every quarter.

My life might appear not that stressful though I find it demanding at times. I often get overwhelmed from noise and people. I find wearing ear defenders helps when walking along the busy road to town. Even after going to Church on Sunday (and I go to a quiet service) I need to time to calm down by myself in my bedroom. I also think the medication slows me down and I don’t know if it really benefits me much anymore but I just do as I’m told. If I was sectioned again they would only put me back on medication so I see no point fighting it. Though I do find my medication helps me sleep well which is important.

I hope me blogging about how I manage my health may be helpful to others with similar struggles. I do sometimes go for a walk which is good sometimes. I used to do a lot of running but that ended during the pandemic and the medication I take now has reduced my motivation. My Mother died in 2016 and my Stepdad not long after. I do have a care co-ordinator but otherwise it’s very much me learning to cope alone. Hopefully I prove being alone isn’t so bad.