Psychosis & Me by Grayson Campbell
The first time I heard a voice I was sixteen years old, and it was on the train in London. I thought it was just a really odd train announcement, until that voice followed me home, and more things began to present themselves. It’s been six years since that first voice, and I live with psychotic symptoms pretty much every single day of my life.
What people think of and know about psychosis is fairly limited – especially because most people see it as something rare. The truth is, the majority of people will hallucinate at least once or twice in their life, so psychotic features are much more common than they may seem. Psychosis also doesn’t only exist in schizophrenia, it also exists in disorders like BPD, Bipolar, Depression and OCD; oftentimes psychosis can be linked to an increase in stress in disorders like this. One thing to remember is that psychiatry isn’t a perfect or definitive system – diagnosis is a guess at containing an experience at best, and sometimes they don’t capture the full situation. Psychosis doesn’t fit into neat categories, the features of it can even occur in someone who has no mental health issues – it’s an experience, rather than a neat diagnosis.
The image that a lot of people have of psychosis is that it exists only as the hallucinations and the delusions; but there are a lot of other aspects that come with it that people aren’t aware of. It can include things like blunted facial expressions, increased apathy, disorganised thinking, confused speech, and difficulty doing personal maintenance like cooking, cleaning, or bathing. These symptoms for me had an equal, if not more devastating impact than the hallucinations and the delusions. I felt so far away from people, so disconnected in experiencing these things: and my lack of ability to feel excited or good about anything, my inability to do anything for myself, and then to not even be able to really care about it. The thinking was the worst, the way that my thoughts jump around, moving between topics so fast I can’t keep up, wanting to link everything together like normal thoughts but not being able to.
My speech was affected as well, and it made things difficult. It was the thing that other people noticed more – not as a symptom of illness, but more as an annoyance. I would stutter, and my speech was slow and flat. Often times people would interrupt me, laugh at me, and very occasionally (but not occasionally enough) just openly make fun of me. Speech is very difficult when your thoughts are rushing by and you’re unable to connect them, and voices are shouting at you all the time. As an interesting aside: one of the girls who made fun of my speech now advocates for mental health stuff on her Instagram. I’ve yet to see her talk about psychosis.
People don’t know that much about psychosis because psychosis is not talked about. When it is seen in media (like most mental illness) it’s seen in a more violent context – despite the fact that psychotic people and severely mentally ill people broadly are far more likely to be the victim of abuse than the perpetrator. It can be scary to tell people you’re experiencing it because of this image. Admitting to experiencing psychosis puts you in a vulnerable position – clearly there is a precedent for people to be taken advantage of, and manipulated. You can see aspects of this in most psychosis advocates online have experiences of people commenting something trying to trigger their symptoms, in particular their paranoia; this usually includes things like “I’m living in your walls” – stemming from a common delusion people experience. Triggering people, maliciously or mistakenly is something a lot of people with delusions have to be careful of. People aren’t always aware what they’re saying or doing is triggering, sometimes they often think they’re being insightful or helpful. Unknowingly triggering people can look like suggesting someone hallucinating is actually seeing and hearing ghosts instead and that its spiritual, or asking what-if questions of delusions, thereby encouraging and validating the “logic” of the delusion. It can be hard to understand what it’s like to have a delusion, which can lead to these unintentional triggerings. A lot of people hear of delusions about being watched by people through their devices, or about people living in their homes and may think “Am I delusional – I worry about those things, too.”
In trying to explain what it’s like to experience delusion, I would explain it this way: You live your life with the awareness and understanding that the sky is blue. It’s something you are aware of, it’s an understanding you have that you can’t remember ever not having, it’s something you know and everyone else knows. One day, in conversation, you mention the sky being blue and your friend just gawks at you. “What?” they ask. You’re not sure exactly why whatever you said was so dumbfounding, so you ask what they’re confused about. “The sky’s not blue,” they tell you. “Well, yeah,” you begin, “the sky isn’t always blue, sometimes it’s grey, or it’s black, but we think about it as blue.” But they just shake their head. The sky is red, they tell you. It annoys you – they have to be making fun of you, how on earth could they say something so obviously wrong? But they keep insisting, and as you speak to other people, everyone tells you that you’re wrong, and the sky is red. It's confusing, it’s infuriating, and it makes you feel ridiculed and shamed. You don’t know how to explain it, because the sky is right there, and it’s blue. How is no one else seeing that?
When you have delusional thinking, sometimes you take medication, and that makes it lose power, or you learn skills that help you understand and evaluate how logical your thinking is. Whatever you do, if you go for treatment, it begins with understanding and accepting that your brain lies to you, and that your awareness of things is wrong. You have to place your trust that everyone else is telling you the right thing.
So when someone tells you, whether they actually believe it or not, that those voices are ghosts and not your sick brain, or that maybe there are people living in your walls – after all there have been cases of that happening to people – it can be incredibly damaging when you are trying to accept your perception is wrong. Delusions aren’t anxieties, and they aren’t fun hypotheticals, they are firmly held beliefs and to the person experiencing it, it’s absolutely true. When you tell people that you have psychosis, you are placing trust in people that they are going to treat you well and they aren’t going to trigger you or take advantage of the fact you’re ill – for a lot of people with psychosis that is a very heavy risk to take.
A lot of the experiences of psychosis are not positive – it can be scary, disorientating and people lose their lives from this illness. But it’s important to state that it isn’t always bad – some people hear voices that are positive and kind to them, and those voices help them. For me, during the first, longest, and most confusing part of my illness, I had a hallucination that seemed to act as a protector. The other ones were awful: long men in suits watching me, even during class, someone breathing in my room while I was trying to sleep, voices heckling me for everything I did and didn’t do. And then there was this cat that I saw – hallucinations are always slightly surreal, this one was fuzzy, or blurred, not entirely there. It was orange and red and smouldering – a cat made of fire. At the time I didn’t see any positive side to this: when you are sixteen years old and your vision of the world is blurring and becoming so unclear, a fire cat doesn’t exactly help. But looking back on it now, the fact that it had no menacing energy behind it, it was peaceful.
I don’t see that cat anymore, but it was part of the first things that I was able to verbalise in starting to talk about my experience, it was a safe entry for me to tell people about, something they couldn’t take and twist, something that made me feel trustful.
Psychosis is difficult for people to speak about almost entirely because of the social stigma it carries. What people seem to forget is that psychosis isn’t a big, bad, scary monster, and the person who is experiencing it is still a person. Psychosis is a human condition, it’s not something out of a horror, or a hypothetical, or a joke to play on people. It’s something that a lot of people will experience in their lifetime and it’s not one black or white thing. It can be scary or surprisingly beautiful, and I hope that in time people will realise it deserves to be talked about and respected like any other topic, and I hope in a small way that speaking about my own experiences will help people understand more when it comes to psychosis.
I Made Friends with the Monsters by Aaron Lockhart
Take a moment to imagine this: You are a 14 stone kid who has just been through a day in school where the word FAT is passed around like cake at a birthday party, but every time you hear it your world collapses, even if the comment was not made about you, although it most likely was. You make it home finally away from all the looks, giggles and comments and you pop in a VHS of Friday The 13th Part 7: The New Blood and a sense of comfort wash over you as you watch Jason plough through countless victims.
Now you are probably thinking, with the state of the world at the minute, “We need to get this child the help they need” or alternatively “where is Tipper Gore when you need her!”, but I promise you the story you have read above does not end in the bloodshed most media would have you believe. The story above is in fact mine and it took that kid a long time to realise that there is in no way something wrong with me for liking the dark side of media like horror movies, heavy metal, true crime etc. even though countless comments from adults and the children I was surrounded with at the time were telling me “you shouldn't be watching those types of things”, even the elders who tried to defend my media intake could only say “he is just a weird kid”. The truth of the matter is Horror and monsters became my shield to the world they gave me confidence, solace and a licence to be as wired as I would like to be because the world doesn't have to understand you.
Horror has always picked me up from my knees or deflected the vitriol that people spew, so I can continue to grow into the kind, loving person I am today. For example, I was walking out of a church as a child when a priest shook everyone's hand at the end of the ceremony, but when it came to my turn he recoiled, now given when he did this I thought to myself ”Hey that's cool I'm like Damien” being the mini edge lord I was, so it wasn't until he spoke that my young mind spiralled into a panic, he said “Oh… you’re the Basterd” in reference to my Mother and Father having me out of wedlock I assume, with that the thoughts flooded my mind “what's wrong with me?”, “Am I not as good as other kids in my family? He shook their hands!” but the like a knight in shining armour Horror came in to destroy all the hate this man had poisoned my mind with, within a single thought, which was “Phft Regan would mess you up for saying that man!”. I then smiled at him, said “YEP!” and continued on my basterds way.
I now sit before you with a Master's degree in Horror Theatre and a blossoming career in that same area. On my travels, I have met others with who I had friends in common, one of whom is my fiance, one of the first conversations we realised we had both known a Mr Fred Kruger a were good friends of his. So the next time you see a weird kid be nice to them because you never know who their friends are!
Noah by Robyn Steel
Friday and Saturday are jam-packed with folding jumpers, ticking things off lists and rereading the itinerary. I am most worried about trying to find the elusive miniature nightlight that Noah needs to be able to get to sleep. Noah is most concerned with which teddy to take with him and whether any of the others will feel left out. Two are selected and the rest are placated with the promise to tell them everything in detail when he gets back. I am instructed to check in on the teddies at bedtime to say goodnight.
The nightlight is located, the waterproofs packed, the sleeping bag rolled up. The threadbare duffel bag by the door jumps out at me every time I walk past, the triangle-patterned fabric baring its teeth at me. I turn my head and pretend it doesn’t exist. Noah’s excitement is a tangible thing, an energetic electricity charging the air. Saturday evening is spent with him bouncing around the house like a blonde-haired Sonic the Hedgehog on a life-and-death mission to destroy any semblance of tidiness. Crayons are picked up and then discarded, books half finished, dinner accompanied by his bubbling chatter, a fast-flowing stream filling the air without pause.
His cheerful words flit around the room like butterflies but in my stomach there are monstrous bats, gnawing and clawing my insides. They make me nauseous with the constant beating of their leathery wings. I feel so sick. Simmering in my stomach along with the bats, is guilt, brewing in the background and making my body burn. All I can think is how I should be internally celebrating, how I should be the proudest parent in the world. My son is going on his first ever Beavers camping trip and all I want to do is wrap him up in my dressing gown with me and keep him close, the strawberry smell of his hair filling my nostrils. The urge to pretend that the camping trip has been cancelled crashes around inside my skull like powerful waves breaking on sand. There are so many things in the depths that are propelling the waves, I feel like they will crack my skull and pour out onto the floor in a thundering tsunami.
The obligatory bedtime story is read, the routine of my special character voices and dramatic gasp as the page is turned to reveal the dragon for the first time, quietens the bats and the guilt and the waves. I stay curled up beside his tiny warm body well into the early hours of the morning. Hearing the sleepy rhythm of his breathing and the random bursts of contented sleep talking is like being immersed in a bath brimming and fizzing with bubbles and technicolour bath bombs: relaxing, calming, filling me with wonder despite the hundreds of times that I have experienced it before. At one point he rolls over and all of the duvet goes with him. I am cold but warm inside, like my love for him is a bright orange campfire in the pit of my stomach, burning away the wildfire of guilt that has been spreading through me. I fall asleep covered by a tiny corner of duvet, the sound of his breathing sending me floating into a world of swirling, strange dreams. I dream of being seven years old and the nights of trying to make myself sleep despite being scared of the growing darkness. There was no one who wanted to soak up the sounds of my drowsy breathing, no comforting arms to turn to when I woke from a nightmare. The arms that I could turn to for comfort were attached to weapons: delicate hands with almond-shaped nails that cut half moons into my skin as a reminder of how futile it would be to run.
I wake up when the sky cracks open to reveal a golden yellow yolk. The sky itself is a gloomy grey page soaking up spilled cobalt ink but I have hope for the day yet. I tell myself that despite the thought immediately lancing through me crying out that it is a sign, it does not have to be a sign and I do not have to act on my thoughts. It is just the sky. The anxiety resists me but I can feel it is weaker than it has ever been before. Something has shifted inside of me. The thought of my boy being away from me for three nights makes my heart clench with sadness. But I am also starting to feel a tentative excitement blossoming in my chest. I am no longer drowning from the inside out.
From the kitchen sink, I can see the sky is now a gloomy grey page soaking up spilled cobalt ink. Breakfast is dippy eggs and toast soldiers, the breakfast reserved for special occasions. They are devoured in minutes. Noah has changed into his Beavers uniform; he looks so grown up that it makes me do a double take. I remember childhood as one long patchwork quilt of memories with no real distinction between years. But now that I am not the one growing, I see now how much who you are changes in childhood. Noah’s personality transforms at the rate of a high-speed train. I know it is just science but something about it feels magical. When he reaches for my hand as we do the final check to make sure that nothing is missing from his bag, I remember when his palms were half the size they are now.
I swear that someone has hit the fast-forward button on my life, the days are passing by so quickly. Or maybe it is that I don’t need to count down the seconds until the end of the day now because sleep is no longer a method of escape. Sleep is a place where I have to go at night in order to wake up in the morning and think this is really my life.
I load his things into the boot and do up his seatbelt, thinking about the quote that I saw on Facebook about love. I remember it like this: There are a thousand ways to say I love you through the little things in life. Doing up a seatbelt, making a cup of tea, cooking dinner. I feel its truth like it’s a living thing, weaving through the everyday. This quote is buzzing through my mind as I turn out of our road, then join the motorway and a stream of steady traffic.
It is a short journey with the soundtrack of Noah singing along to the Frozen CD I got him for Christmas last year, flinging his arms around in an Elsa imitation when “Let it go” gets going. We are pulling into the campsite, “Let it go” filling the air, as he gestures wildly in an attempt to act out Elsa’s emotions. He doesn’t care what anyone thinks, and I love that. That is something that I need to learn from him.
Once out of the car, the cold air bites at my fingertips and my ears. The other parents, bundled up in scarves and coats like I am, look equally chilled. The children, however, in their thin blue Beavers jumpers, seem to repel the cold. I get the feeling from the looks on their faces that it is the excitement for this trip that is keeping them warm. Most of them have never been camping before, only heard nostalgic stories about toasted marshmallows, getting up close and personal with wildlife and being allowed to spend all day in the woods. The cozy indoors has always been my preference, but I have a feeling that Noah is going to become a camping enthusiast. The itinerary includes climbing as well and I can imagine him pretending to be Spiderman whilst acting out shooting webs in all directions. I look at him and smile, my face feeling numb with cold.
“I love you, Noah.”
He squeezes my hand and tells me he loves me too, his grin a mix of nerves and curiosity and three wobbly teeth. Two friends wave at him and he starts to bound towards them when he stops suddenly and looks up at me, his eyes tinged with a sudden, dark fear. “What if something bad happens?” His voice is small, meant just for me. My heart twists in response. This is the thought that set me on fire and drowned me from the inside out. I see the embryo of anxiety forming in his mind and I make myself smile for him.
“I’m sure nothing bad is going to happen. And even if you need me, I’m only a phone call away. I bet you’re going to be even better at climbing than Spiderman is.”
This simple sentence is enough to extinguish the fear and he turns, boots already caked in mud, to join his two friends. I can tell the Leaders are going to look after the children. My dream last reminded me that my own problems are not something that Noah should suffer for if I can help it. I will not repeat the past.
My Dream Story about Mental Illness by Grayson Campbell
I love reading, I love watching TV and movies, and I love playing games. I like a big array of genres, from horror to comedy, adventure, queer stories, and drama. I’m also someone who is severely mentally ill, and because of that, I often find myself looking for media that includes mentally ill people too. There’s not as much as I would like, and when there is something, it’s usually very dark, serious in tone, and it’s specifically about the mental illness itself. That was good, for a time, but you start to notice how it’s pretty much the same story over, and over again, and I got bored. When you get sick, especially when you become quite severely mentally ill, you can start to feel like you’ve lost the person outside of that illness, and when all the media you see seems to reflect that, it can be challenging. So I have compiled a list of things that I think I don’t see enough in stories, that I would really love to see more of.
1. Comedy time
Mental illness is often seen in a very serious light – as it should be. I don’t want mental illness to be a joke in the way that some people see it: that men expressing emotion is hilarious, or that people who talk to themselves in public are funny. More that sometimes mental illness is ridiculous and sometimes the situations you find yourself in can be funny. Once when I was in hospital I was asked who the person was on my t-shirt, and I in my feelings of paranoia and strangeness decided this was information the nurse didn’t have a right to know, I told her I didn’t know who it was. I was wearing a Dua Lipa shirt with her name on the t-shirt. In a moment of genuine distress I found myself crying “I am just several mental illnesses in a trench coat pretending to be a person”. I’ve referred to the moment when having to take off your clothing to put on the hospital’s special clothing as “the unsexiest strip tease you’ll ever see.” There are moments so outside of your own life and outside of your expectations that you have to see the funny side of it. When you try to treat things with the upmost serious with no other change it can feel too heavy with no real variation. There are light moments in mental illness, to present it as only gloom and doom neglects a rather large part of it – arguably the more important part.
2. Different people
A lot of presentations of mental illness in media tends to follow the trend of being focussed on a very small selection of people: usually cishet white able bodied thin people, and it really needs to change. People of colour will have a very different experience in the mental health system than white people, as well as having different cultural experiences in how mental health is talked about. Mental health stigma is affected by race – something that is discussed not in fiction, but in a documentary on BBC with David Harewood: Psychosis & Me, where he explores his own experience with racism in the mental health system, as well as the fact black men are 4x more likely to be detained under the mental health act than white men. Queer people and disabled people also have a different experience of the mental health system, LGBTQ+ people are more likely to experience mental illness or trauma than their cishet counterparts, and disabled people are more likely to have a mental health problem along with their disability. Speaking from my own situation as a queer deaf person: the loneliness that comes with being excluded from conversations due to deafness affects your mental health, and the ability to participate in treatment like group therapy, where lots of people are speaking at the same time, is greatly diminished. When the people telling these stories only look a certain way, it can feel like your experience is invalid, and it leaves out experiences that deserve to be seen and heard.
3. Hospital is just a place
Whenever mental health is discussed in media, psychiatric hospitals will usually not be far behind. For a lot of stories, hospital seems like a mythic place filled with either victims or perpetrators, depending on what genre you’re in. Another side to that is the newer idea of glamorisation, that in order to be valid in your illness you need a hospital admission, that your illness is measured in the number of admissions, as opposed to the effect on your life. On TikTok it’s spoken about as “grippy sock vacations” making it sound easier than it is. The truth is, hospital is hospital: it is there as a place to get better, but it is also a traumatic place. A lot of people who have admissions have mixed feelings about their stays – it may have helped, but it was not easy. Furthering that, the system in the UK is overtaxed and a lot of people who maybe need a hospital admission aren’t getting one. Sometimes mental illness can be seen as competitive, as who’s worse off, and hospital is used as a yardstick upon which to measure that. The truth is mental illness is impossible to compare, because the worst point of someone’s illness will always be the worst point for them, and comparing that to someone else’s worst point means nothing. Hospital deserves to be spoken about – bringing it back to a place where no one spoke about it, or a time in the 60s when people went away to “get well” and no one discussed the reality would do far more harm than good. But we can speak about and address it without glamourising it or making it a competition. In the comedy series Please Like Me, by Josh Thomas: a series about a gay man whose mother has bipolar disorder, the second season takes place while she is admitted in hospital, along with several other characters, and it is just a setting. The focus is always on the characters rather than where they are, and the characters always have more to them than their mental illness.
4. More psychotic people
This one is partially selfish. I experience psychosis, and I really want to see more characters like me on screen. When characters who have psychosis do show up, it’s usually to watch them have a crisis. I want to see more people who just live with psychosis, who manage it – who talk back to the snarky voices, or acknowledge the strange things they see, and then ignore it. The queer romcom Alex Strangelove includes daydreaming moments from Alex that are incredibly vivid and surreal, and for a long time I thought he was hallucinating, and I loved it. I would die to have a romcom where one character has psychosis, and you see their perception of things and it has no greater effect on the plot, because to see a psychotic character being loved would be revolutionary. Another trope that happens is a person is diagnosed with psychosis, but it turns out they actually have a superpower, and I wish this trope more often ended with the character having a mixture of both: that they are psychotic, and they can speak to dead people, and sometimes they get confused, which leads onto my final point.
5. Focus on the mentally ill characters
For a lot of media, especially in a hospital setting, it’ll feature a character who is not really ill, but is being labelled as such. This is an important thing to discuss as it does happen – schizophrenia is more frequently diagnosed in black people; there is a history of misdiagnosing other conditions as schizophrenia because of racism and beliefs that black people are more dangerous: this racism also contributes to the violent label schizophrenia and psychosis has now. But I wish more media followed someone who is really mentally ill. I get that it’s a framing device, that a largely non-mentally ill audience will identify more with a main character who is like them, that they get to see the other characters through the eyes of this character, and it feels more objective to them. I just wish people were able to feel connected to see the story told through the eyes of a character who was mentally ill.
I guess all of these can be summed down into one idea: that there should be more stories involving mentally ill and neurodivergent people. I think one of the things that would make the difference is if more mentally ill and ND people were able to write and tell these stories. I wish that I had more stories with mentally ill people where the focus wasn’t on their mental illness – I would love to see mentally ill and ND people going on adventures, in space – doing things with their lives beyond suffering. I would kill to see a romance where the love interest has scars on their arms like I do, or someone to casually mention a hospital admission or a diagnosis. When stories feel so dense and heavy it feels like there’s no other way you can address these things in, and it feels like there’s a limit to what mentally ill people can do, and that’s not true. Mentally ill and neurodivergent can adventure, be loved, be funny – they can be everything everyone else is, and I wish characters and stories reflected that more.
How Films affect us at the right time? by anonymous
In 2000 Cameron Crowe released his passion project, Almost Famous. Focusing on a young kid, Patrick travelling with the fictional band Stillwater to write an article on them but also as he deals with drugs, women, adolescence, and his helicopter mother. It was based on Crowe’s own experience writing for Rolling Stone magazine when he would follow bands like The Who and Crosby, Stills, and Nash (and sometimes Young). With the film having recently turned 20, I could talk about how after all these years Crowe made a masterpiece in scriptwriting of a coming-of-age story and was able to create as deep a world as a sci-fi film in the 70s laced images, however I want to look at how it affected me. Just at the right time.
At the start of year 11 I was going through a difficult time with my mental health as I had developed Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures. I would have seizures that resulted from anxiety and stress and during its peak I would be having over 20 a day. For most other people my age who went through the same thing their school’s response was to just have them not in school and do all their work from home, a foreign concept in October 2018. My school’s first response was to do the same thing. Now as a kid who weirdly actually liked school and where a lot of my anxiety comes from if I’m achieving enough, sending me home wasn’t the best for me. I was still stressed and having seizures as I was trying to focus on my work. After one of my many seizures of the day my dad told me I wasn’t going to do any more work and watch a film, my dad wasn’t the best achiever in school.
We sat down together and put on a film he’d been telling me to watch for ages, Almost Famous. As someone who’s music taste was 99% music from the 60s and 70s I could see why he thought I should watch it, I have since expanded my music tastes and now only 95% of the music I listen to is from the 60s and 70s. I was sceptical at first, as every budding film student is when there parent recommends them a ‘classic’ which often leads you being forced to waste your time on an aggressively average film. But we did sit down and watch it. And it hooked me.
I can admit that Almost Famous may not be the best film in the world, but it hit me just right. Watching 15-year-old Patrick experience trying to find himself in a new environment on the road and what he wanted to achieve as he had a constant pressure of his anti-rock ‘n’ roll mother and Rolling Stone magazine wanting his article he tries to write with the tension-filled band, Stillwater, who are always high, drunk or both, I guess I could find myself in that. I was having to deal with these new seizures which had never happened in the previous 15 years of my life and having to look ahead at college and what I would do after that and after that. Like Patrick I needed to take it easy and that even though it wasn’t the same situations, going through growing pains can suck but you find yourself.
Now this didn’t automatically stop all the seizures, but it did give me a new relaxed perspective that I could choose to look through if I wasn’t caught in my own restless mind. I would go back to school seeing as sending me home had not helped, at least at the time because when else would my dad have forced me to watch Almost Famous. The Seizures reduced significantly with the amazing help of the school counsellor and are now a rarity in my life. Whilst I’m not trying to argue that films can completely solve and wash away all our problems, I think many people can relate in films when watched at the right time in our lives just let us exhale. Each person will all have their own film that hit then when they needed it. For me that was and still is Almost Famous.
What is the most important step a person can take? by Katnya Piper
Emotional Regulation by Jas Warren
Emotion regulation is the ability to exert control over one’s own emotional state. The ability to control one’s own emotional state is a difficult thing, but neurodivergent people find it even harder. As someone who is both Autistic and has ADHD, I especially struggle with regulating my emotions. Often finding myself crying constantly over the littlest of things. Growing up I was called a cry-baby often, my fellow students not being surprised when I randomly started crying in class. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with Autism at 16 (and later on ADHD at 18) that I began to understand why I do what I do. My crying is an example of poor emotion regulation, it is an expression of my mind trying to handle all that is going on at that time. Whether I am frustrated, excited, sad, angry, I take all the emotion and struggle to process it all, resulting in tears. Now that I know that this is the cause, I try and become less angry with myself when I do begin to cry, and try and find a path out of it and to find strategies to clear my tears and to begin regulating the emotions I am feeling.