Back to Work With a Sniffle

Ah, the first fortnight back in lectures.

I already can tell which modules I’m really going to enjoy, and which ones I’m going to be struggling with over the next academic year.  I love my novel writing modules, not so keen on the 20 credit ones I’ve got to do.

Though last week, I ended up getting Fresher’s Flu, rendering me rather useless in both the academic and employment front. Ironic really, getting Fresher’s Flu in your final year of university.

I came down the Thursday night, and only a week later I’ve properly recovered. It did mean having to miss work, and a couple of classes. It was rather frustrating, as I want to get to every class to learn everything I can before I have to leave university for good.

I’ve started a novel, which I shall talk about more in another post, and am thinking about sorting out my life in general. And preparing for NaNoWriMo.

I’m Ready!

It’s finally here, my final year of university.

And preparing myself for it, among other things, has shamelessly kept me away from my keyboard and updating Geeky Scribbles. For this I apologise, and promise to update you all much more often in the forseeable future.

Since the last post, I got myself a job. I’ve been working at Lush Bath Spa now for the past two months as a Christmas temp sales assistant, and I blooming adore it! My colleagues are lovely people, and the products are beautiful. My world has been filled with perfume and glitter, and I don’t know what I’ll do without it in my life.

So, with working, and moving out of my beloved studio flat to a disabled-access room in the halls of residence at the top of campus, I’ve been keeping myself rather busy.

Not to mention that last weekend, the freshers moved onto campus in their hundreds.

I’ve been living on campus pretty much alone (apart from the apathetic international postgraduates I shared my halls with) for the past four months, so having the place buzzing with activity feels alien to me. No longer can I go for late evening walks around the lake without passing some people clutching cans of beer like they are a lifeline, or curl up in front of Netflix without the background sound of flat parties rumbling through the blocks.

It’s nice to be able to talk to people again, and not feel as isolated as I have been, but at the same time, I appreciate peace and quiet.

So, today is the first day of Fresher’s Week, with the first years attending many introductory classes and hanging out in the bustling SU bar. I’m sat here typing on my laptop in a bid to get out of the flat and do something productive, but getting distracted by occasional snippits of conversation that I’m overhearing from the students around me.

And I’m ready to rock!

I Miss Being 11 Years Old…

aged 11

I went out for a run this morning, and thought about what my 11 year old self would think about meeting the woman she’d grow up to be ten whole years later.

When I was 11, I started secondary school, going to the local special needs secondary school in the area. I had my first ever crush (who I’ve cropped out of the above image because privacy), and went on a medieval school trip in costume, where the above photograph was taken.

I was also the most avid reader.

Considering the childhood I had, it was better to escape into a little world of my own for a few hours rather than face the reality of my situation, that I was in foster care, autistic and being bullied both at home and school.

So I read a LOT of books.

And I’d get through at least five books a week. I read anything I could get my hands on, be it for children or for adults. I even read Shakesphere, Dickens. Breaktimes would be spent either in the school library reading Anne Frank’s diary, or in the playground tucked under a tree with The Butterfly Lion by Michel Morpurgo. I’d go to Hogwarts with Harry, Ron and Hermione, time travel through Horrible Histories, walking through the streets of Heaven with Mel Beebie and her angel friends.

So, it’s safe to say that I read an awful lot, so many I can’t remember them all.

I also wrote a lot of stories. I wrote about the ‘Rainbow Agents’, where each of my classmates and I were representing a colour of the rainbow and saving the world from all sorts of crazy things that I can’t really remember anymore. It was ten years ago!

But what about now, ten years later? Would 11 year old Heidi recognise herself in me?

To be perfectly honest, I don’t think she would.

Since then, I’ve been studying, growing up, working, making friends and having relationships. I have a flat to care for, bills to pay, family to spend time with…

And I’m expected to write as well as look after my general health and well being.

Which doesn’t give me much time to sit down and read several books a week, or write a whole story in under ten minutes. Or the energy and motivation.

I spend too much time outside of studying, trying to manage my home and seeing other people dossing around on the internet and playing Sims 4 instead of reading and writing. It’s really not the best of habits, when I could be totally spending that time curled up with a book or jotting down a few lines of prose.

So, as of today, I’m going to start reading one book a week, and writing something daily, even if it’s something I end up scrunching up and throwing away. It also means actually blogging more often than I have been, and generally just being more focused on my goals.

I do miss being 11 years old. But I would like to think that she’d be proud of me ten years later, and starting to read again should help.

Father’s Day as a Care Leaver, and Why It Sucks

So, every year, the shops and the internet burst out into the world proclaiming that it’s time to celebrate all the fathers out there in the world, with cards, gifts and special days out to celebrate all things paternal.

As someone who didn’t have a father growing up, or indeed, any proper parental influence for that matter, it’s a day that I always dread.

Every time I see a Facebook status, Instagram image or tweet from a friend gushing about the amazing relationship they have with their father, it feels like a kick in the teeth. I spend all my time in the shops or town with my eyes firmly trained to the pavement so I won’t be bombarded with front window displays celebrating all things Father’s Day.

You could argue that people who have lost their fathers, or are estranged from their fathers won’t have it easy tomorrow either. And I won’t deny that at all.

But as someone who didn’t choose to not have my father in my life, it really sucks.

Every day I’m reminded of what I could of had growing up. When I see families in town shopping, or having a lovely day out in the play park. Seeing the wonderful relationship Matt has with both of his parents, who love and support him no matter what. Even friends bitching about how annoying their parents can be sometimes when they might not get their own way, or misunderstand something they feel is important.

Sure, I had my foster mother. I adore her so much, she was the one who was fundamental in getting me to where I am today, and I’m always going to be so grateful to her.

But it’ll never really be the same.

I last saw my biological father when I was nine years old. My half brother was still a tiny baby at the time, and my father came to visit me whilst I was visiting Cadbury World with a fostering group. My sister had come with me.  I remember that he was very tall, had bright blue eyes and wore a leather jacket and rode a motorcycle. I was allowed to sit on his shoulders for ages, and pretend I was a giant. He promised that I could stay with him and his then wife for a few weeks in the summer.

But I never saw him again.

And I guess every year, when Father’s Day comes around, that’s what I remember. That wound gets reopened, and it still stings.

I often wonder if he thinks about me, wonders what I’m up to, who I’ve grown up to be. Does he look for me online? It’s not like I hide my existence from the world.

So, as someone who was abandoned, forgotten and ignored, for no reason other than for his own convenience, as a little girl with nowhere else to turn, I pretend Father’s Day doesn’t exist. I’ve never acknowledged it as an adult, and will continue to do so until I have children of my own, and for them to have a father to share it with.

Tomorrow I’m meeting Matt for ice cream, which will be lovely, so I guess I can forget the sadness of the day for me.

But it doesn’t mean that I still won’t be hurting.

Time to Let My Hair Down! (well, Nearly…) And A Big Announcement…

It’s nearly that time of year when students put down their books, move out of their university digs and head off for the summer. 

Although for me, lectures are a thing of the past right now, I’ve still got three proper assignments and two reading quizzes to complete before I can put my feet up for a well earned break. 

Tomorrow is the Summer Ball, and I’ve bought a brand new dress, 1950’s swing style, with a separate petticoat, to wear. I’m going with B, so it is very much something to look forward to. I shall enjoy being able to let down my hair and dance my feet off, celebrating a year that saw so much happen to me, and made me a far stronger character as a result. 

A big announcement I have to make is this, however.

I’m starting training to become a burlesque performer. 

That’s right, one of those people who stripteases on stage with feathers, rhinestones and glitter to music. 

It’s thanks to my good friend Cici, who has agreed to teach me all she knows, after I saw her perform at Bath Spa Pride. I already knew her from The Idle Playthings, but had no idea of her sideline in pole and burlesque, until I saw her strut her stuff on stage. After much gushing, and not all that much begging, she has taken me under her wing. As we are both in he throes of studying, we won’t be starting properly until September for sorting out routines, but until then I’m immersing myself in YouTube tutorials, books, films and Pintrest boards to get myself in the zone for performing.

I shall start up my own blog about my journey into the world of burlesque under my stage name soon enough, and get Facebook and Twitter for it, but I’d need photos of myself in costume and makeup, so that won’t be for a considerable while yet. But the blog can kick off soon, probably once I’ve completed all my outstanding coursework for the year. Extra motivation, much? 

In the meantime, I’m getting my fitness up. Yes, the girl best know at school for hiding in the girl’s toilets in the Humanities block at school with a book and iPod to skip PE, is taking up fitness in a big way. I’ve downloaded an app called Zombies, Run! 5k and have been working out with it for the past week. I’ll review it soon, alongside its usual version, Zombies, Run! Even Matt has been getting into the spirit, and runs with me whenever I’m round his or he is round mine. If you’re wondering how Zombies, Run! works, it’s basically an interactive app that gets you to interact with a story as you run, set in the zombie apocalypse. You collect supplies and run away from zombies.

So, this weekend is going to be great! Summer Ball tomorrow, day in bed Saturday, and a trial burlesque and pole class on Sunday! So excited!! 

Autism, ADHD and Mental Health – Mental Health Awareness Week 2015

(TW Mental Illness, Trauma, Eating Disorders)

I was diagnosed with autism when I was four years old, and with ADHD when I was twenty. In between this, bouts of depression would send me through counselling, and then antidepressants.

Growing up, I’d have bouts of depression, especially in the summer holidays when my routine of school/college wasn’t there to keep me on track. I’d feel unmotivated, frustrated, hopeless and very alone. My foster mum would call this my ‘Summer Blues’, and would find me very difficult to be around, as I’d be irritable and snappy, in general, a nasty person. I do feel bad about those times when I’d get into a screaming match with her over the slightest thing that during term time wouldn’t have even fazed me.

I never had the best relationship with food either. When I first went into care, I’ve been told that I was a very fussy eater, only liking a couple of meals, and living mostly off of sweets. As my placement with the carers that would later see me at my very lowest ebb continued, I started to use food as the main thing that they couldn’t control in my life, something that I could have all to myself. When the opportunity would seize itself, I’d binge eat until I was physically sick. Then I’d carry on. I’d even shoplift in order to satisfy the monster within, as I never had money due to constant ‘docking’ of my pocket money when I did the slightest thing wrong.

As I got older, and left foster care, things didn’t get very much better on that front. As my relationship with my ex got worse, so did my mood at home. It didn’t help that I resented the carer because of the disapproval of me living an adult life, imposing curfews, prohibiting my use of internet past a certain hour. My coursework at college slipped, I stopped attempting to socialise with people outside my ex and his family, bar at my voluntary job at the museum (that turned out to be my saviour during that time).

It was only when I started at university, away from my hometown, meeting new people, establishing myself as my own person, leaving my ex, when things took another turn. My food control took another turn entirely. I stopped eating more than a few snacks a day. I just didn’t want to try to eat proper meals. I was tired, all the time. I barely slept properly (not that I’ve slept like a normal person). It was around this time that I was diagnosed with ADHD, and the waiting list to be seen for medication made me feel really hopeless, as now I knew why I struggled at university, but had to wait for the help I needed. It was out of my control. Though my diet was…

I dropped a lot of weight, quickly. My Mentor raised the alarm with Student Support, who booked me into the GP right away. I was tested for depression, and was put onto antidepressants for the first time in my life.  I’ve been on them ever since.

Things looked up for a while after that. I met Matt, finished all the back-dated coursework for the year, thus passing my first year, just. I got a job, I’d been accepted into the modules I’d wanted, I’d successfully gotten my paternal family back into my life.

Then I had my accident.

A new monster reared its head.

Everyone feels a small level of anxiety in their life time, be it exams, wedding day jitters, first day nerves. That’s part of being a human being.

But freezing by a road and being unable to cross for a good five minutes, that’s not normal.

In the months after my accident, I didn’t dare to cross any very busy road alone, even if there was a crossing. It started out being because on crutches I was too slow to get across without support. As the walking aids left, I still struggled. Breeze from cars driving past as I walk still freak me out, as does seeing other people amble across busy roads. On bad days I have to ask my best friend B to meet me and cross me over the road.

You know you have a problem with post-traumatic stress when the ADHD clinic insist you go off for counselling…

Of course, I’ve dealt with anxiety a lot, it just didn’t have a name. Being afraid that no one would ever want to be around me. That Matt will turn around and walk away. A change of routine at the last minute, travelling to a brand new location alone. That I’ll be a failure. That I haven’t done enough to make a positive change in the world.

So, what does this all have to do with autism and ADHD?

The National Autistic Society say:

‘Roughly 40% of people on the autism spectrum have anxiety problems compared with 15% of the general population’

‘Depression is common in individuals with Asperger syndrome with about 1 in 15 people with Asperger syndrome experiencing such symptoms (Tantam 1991)’

That’s a lot of people going through the motions in darkness.

A person with ADD/ADHD is six times more likely to have another mental health disorder than any other person. Six times more likely. The reason for this is debated, whether it’s due to the symptoms of ADHD causing frustration, hence depression, or if depression is a symptom of ADHD itself. I’m not sure myself, it could be both, for all I know.

The point is this, mental health is something that we should all think about keeping healthy. And with this week being Mental Health Awareness Week, I thought I’d share this.

It isn’t just neurotypical people who need help and support with this. No one should feel the darkness, no matter who they are. If you know an autistic person, or someone with ADHD, take the time to ask them how they are this week. If anything, they may feel relieved that they can talk to someone about how they are feeling!

Autism and ADHD can feel isolating, especially if the person is the only one in the peer group to be going through it. Reach out, and let them know you’re there to talk. You’re aware. You’ll never truly understand what their world is like, but you’re ready to try.

You never truly know what the person next to you is experiencing.


Heidi Plays…

I’ve decided to delve into the world of gaming blogging, as I seem to game a lot, and not use this to my writing portfolio advantage!

And this blog is called ‘Geeky Scribbles’, and gaming blog posts are pretty geeky, right?

I’m going to call the series ‘Heidi Plays…’ and blog about me playing different games, be it on the PC, consoles past and present, and talk about future gaming conventions that I attend (as I do attend a few now, with Matt).

And of course, I’m going to start the series with…

The Sims 4!


Of course I am! I know I play this game quite a lot, so I’m going to create a new Sim, just for the blog! The initial Sims 4 Play blog series will cover the life of this Sim, as I can’t afford to buy capture software to Youtube my play.

One day…

So, stay tuned for the first post later on today!

That’s after this little competion I’m setting up!

Yes, you can Name A Sim!

All I’m going to say is that I’m going to create a female Sim.

What I’d love for you to do is to Suggest a Name, both first and last name. Either comment below, or go on my Twitter and Facebook, both Geeky Scribbles, and I’ll pick a winner!

The prize is a packet of sweets of your choice, and a shout-out here on the blog, as well as the Sim being named the winning name of choice!

Closing today at 4pm!

Get Cracking!