Andy's Blog

An ongoing series of informative entries

Blog No.1

I wasn't sure how to start this all, so began with a rabbit or two. I thought it would be best just talking about things around me, the book and policing in general; so here goes. Do let me know what you think and what if anything you would like to see.

It was a no-brainer for me at 19yrs old to join the best job in the world (and I honestly mean that) and was mightily surprised that they wanted me too. I had no idea that I was autistic back then, so everything was difficult which has since been explained by a hard fought diagnosis. It doesn't define who I am but does make it a lot easier to understand why and what I do on a daily basis; well to a certain degree anyway. 

The book came directly from all of that stuff I did at work, in the disability arena and a desire to genuinely want to help people. This was truly the overriding drive. There are still those who say autistic people are heartless or soulless, which couldn't be further from the truth. I always wanted to help people, any people and the police force enabled me to do that. I wanted to explain in writing how with only a few tweaks, any vulnerable person (not just autistic) could be assisted by the book. It is merely a minor change in the policing mindset which can achieve this, and from the feedback I have received so far, I feel I have succeeded. 

Policing is a minefield at the best of times but with all of the present problems has become a nightmare. Where once a level head and a kind word was all that was required to solve a situation, a pandemic adds a real element of imminent danger. A thought must be spared for those giving their lives (literally) to save and protect us all. Stay safe all on the thin blue line. 


Our Second Blog Entry

I was stuck at first for where to go when writing a second blog. The first was easy as it was an introduction but this one had to be more considered.

During lockdown, things in life have become more crystallised for many people and from what I have read, the neurodiverse community have felt it as keenly, if not more.

There are autistic people who have simply used it to re-catalogue their lives (some literally) as they dwell in ‘lockdown’ on a daily basis and apart from shopping being more problematic, things have not changed much. However, on the flipside, many who experience anxiety acutely, the lockdown period has simply compounded their fears to such a point that life has become almost unbearable.

Autism presents in so many different ways that documenting it is impossible, each of us find difficulty or pleasure uniquely. It will be argued that this is the same for neurotypicals and this is true; to a point. I have observed a ‘herd’ mentality with NTs where they will adopt or vocalise a conformative view (on the surface at the very least) which matches that of their contemporaries on most subjects, tv, music etc. This is not true of the autistic people I know.

They often are labelled (personally experienced) as all liking, doing, watching or eating the same things, when nothing could be further from the truth. Where a uniform admiration for sci-fi or fantasy literature is quoted as the ‘norm’, if the blanket statement is gently pushed aside, you will see absolute divisions exist in all genres. Autistic people far from being uninformed or unopinionated will have eloquent theses about their favourite subject matters if you are willing to engage with them.

So, if a daily activity is denied to the autistic person, coping strategies may well be missing and building new ones impossible. Some of us live in a perpetual state of anxiety where any further stress causes the body to shut down until we are capable of re-engaging. This is often termed as a meltdown, a phrase which I personally hate due to the negative connotations. I have struggled to invent another definitive word to describe it but have settled on Environmental Impact Factors (EIF). Not a catchy phrase I grant you, but this is exactly what causes such a reaction or lack of it (as no reaction can be just as worrying) – the environment the autistic person is in.

Good or bad can be equally impactive. Happiness can be an overwhelming emotion which NTs often dismiss as it is seen as such a positive situation how could anyone be uncomfortable with it? We can and often are. Give us some space and a safe place to speak about it and we may do just that.

Why pick this subject to blog about? Because it is important to explain how autistic people are thinking and feeling at the best of times and this is not the best of times. I wanted to give a small insight into our world and be honest about it, as I always try to be (sometimes too honest, but that is a whole different blog).

I will end this around here now if that is ok? For everyone in this immensely strange time please take especially good care of your mental health during lockdown and if in doubt talk to someone about it if unsure. To all, stay safe.


 Coming soon Blog 3. 

As things start to settle down across the world and ‘lock-down’ has been lifted the events of the past few months begin to sink in. I have had time to re-assess my future and found that many of the things which I thought important are no longer such. For an example I was determined to learn several new languages (to me not invent them obviously) and complete the advanced mathematics course I have had on the back burner for so long.

I did neither.

What I did do was make some hard decisions about the path in life I wish to tread. This may sound a tadge chimerical but let me explain;

I was enwrapped by the police force from the age of 19 for nearly three decades and in that time I completely swallowed the pill, believing I was part of the Matrix. An abrupt exit left me without the extended family I had enjoyed for all of that time. I felt bereft and now understand I was grieving for the ‘job’.

The first part of the process was writing my first book. That helped enormously but it has taken the drafting of my second and third to make me certain that I was doing the right thing. Now I know that I am.

Writing is not only cathartic for me, it has also exorcised many demons I have been carrying for an awfully long time, too long. Through all of this I came to realise I wanted and perhaps needed to do it. In order to enable the process, other things had to go, part of the ABC plan to be exact. This is why the website has changed and with it a new philosophy; doing that which I ‘want ‘ to do.

I have always done what I thought I should do, never what I really wanted to do. It may be a bit late in the day to discover this but until now, I didn’t understand that I could. I honestly feel it is being autistic which has caused this. I have been so conditioned to think in a particular way and restrained by the pressures of peers that I couldn’t see who I was. Now I do.

So it was with the business; I designed it thinking I should do this and that, never once asking what it was I wanted to do. The cool-off period was finally reached a few weeks ago and I realised I was unsettled by particular aspects of my own resumé. I decided to change that and move into a slightly different area of work which you will be able to see from the website.

This has made me unbelievably happy. Simple it may have been and some may say foolish from the start but something so basic was unfathomable just a short time ago.

Now I am refocussed and re-energised……..just wait and see.