2015 in review.
2015 was the most extreme year I have had for a while.
The first 8 months of 2015 were dominated by intense physical pain. I had gallstones and gluten issues which resulted in childbirth equivalent levels of pain 5 nights a week.
I slept in a bathtub of hot water or simply stayed awake all the time. The hot water helped ease the pain. In the worst week I got 11 hours of sleep across 6 nights.
In January my boyfriend moved out and stopped caring for me. It was the right decision. My illness had made my Supoort requirement simply too much for him while he studied. He got a 1st in his degree partly because we took a very difficult but essential step.
From January to March an attempt to live alone left me experiencing rolling panic attacks despite the amazing efforts of my friends.
I then flew to the USA to attend CSUN and gave the talk of my life to two packed rooms in what many have told me was the most talked about talk of the entire conference.
While at CSUN I arrange for a friend to move in with me to provide support.
From March to August I developed techniques for managing the autism and making the most of the support I had in place.
In August I finally had an operation to fix the pain.
The operation was a success. But I lost skills. I’ve not been able to speak since. I have been non verbal for 3 months now.
I then had to move out of and then sell my home.
I couldn’t live there as it was to far away from my friends for supoort and the friend living with me got busy so a return after my operation wasn’t feasible.
I wish him the best. He got busy because the show he was able to run at the Edinburgh fringe (which was by all accounts, a highlight of the fridge) did so well it’s now led to other shows. He was able to run the show in part because he lived with me rent free. We both gained from the situation while it worked.
In 2015 I have helped 2 other autistic people secure jobs in the industry. Helped another autistic friend go from homeless sleeping in his car to his own home and a well paying tech job.
I gave 6 large presentations to a total audience of around 3000 people. I also gave a talk online as a part of a summit on inclusive design.
I had my second magazine article published. It was a joy to walk into a WH Smiths and walk out with something I had written! I have another article due to be published soon.
In work, I helped develop the BBC champions network into a small but active community. Growing from 25 to over 55. I worked extensively with the news team, iPlayer team and many other teams. I did inductions, introduced people to each other. Ran workshops and training.
I answered around 100 technical accessibility questions via email.
I also spoke at 2 internal BBC diversity events and contributed too two rounds of autism awareness training. I helped to get more disabled staff at the BBC so we spoke better reflect the wonderful diversity of our audience.
I developed a prototype for an innovative tool for improving subtitle quality and worked with R&D to analyse the data we have.
I designed, built, wrote and launched an autism reviews and techniques website with a blog. It has had over 6000 page views and around 1000 users and has led to life changing improvements for at least 3 people (they emailed me).
I moved across london to live independently. In the process arranging my own day to day Supoort by hiring a “babysitter”.
2016 is a mighty challenge. I am exhausted. 3 months of attempting to live alone had been a huge challenge but I am learning and making some progress.
2015 was a heck of a year.