About Bob Christian

Aspie, Poet, Dyslexic, Blogger, Father & Husband. Author of Behind the Mask, Scribblology & Alexithymia.

Rainy Day Parade 2g

Looks like you’re going to need your umbrella ella ella (sorry) because as you can see, it’s still raining on the this pity party parade.

Rainy Day Parade Vol 2

By Bob Christian

You need to stop crying ’bout

The game of life, ‘n’ how you’re  

Losing at it – kinda shit at it.

“Dad used to hit me”? Please. 

I had leather belts, fists, welts.

Told you last time. I wrote the

Book on abandonment issues,

Dearie. Want me to pass the 

Tissues? Dry those crocodile 

Tears? Fears of being lonely?

I’ve thrown you yet another

Rope. I hope you don’t claim 

I tried to hang you with it. 

Even your mother’s done 

With your lies – huge fallacies.

Just STOP telling these horror 

Stories. Your mask’s falling off;

It’s dropping, like your credibility. 

The darkness you claim surrounds

You, is home to me. It’s where I was

Created, years ago.  Yet you ignore

My hand, reaching out so many

Times, to pull you in. Back to

Safety. Maybe you just prefer

The cold and darkness?

Back to the Chair

Well that’s great. I got up this morning and my spine decides to get a mood on, leaving me in a lot of pain and discomfort and losing some sensation in my left leg. This normally wouldn’t bother me too much, as I’m used to it – it’s been an issue since I had a motorcycle accident in Nov ’03. I woke up the following day in hospital and since then it’s been a regular companion and problem in my life.

The issue is that I had a wedding to attend and a visit to see my daughter and my beautiful little granddaughter. I only get to see my granddaughter occasionally, although we do regularly video chat with her and my daughter. This wedding was a great chance to catch up on Mrs Bob’s family from up country. So you can imagine how fucked off I am to be laid up, whacked out of reality on some strong-ass prescription pain relief and muscle relaxants. I’m angry as hell because I’ve planned every little bit of the trip. Car serviced, once overed, then my body gives out on me. Folds faster than superman on laundry day, leaving me feeling like I’ve let down so many people. To my daughter, granddaughter, Mrs Bob & her family I’m very sorry.

Stay Safe X

Breaking News…

While I had some downtime at Geek Towers this week, Mrs Bob suggested I try something new. No, no, nothing like that, you filthy lot! She suggested I try to start a Patreon page to share my latest scribbles and whatnot.

I must say, I was unsure about this new direction, but having had a look and done my research, it does seem like a new way forward for me as a brand. I’m still going to keep blogging, raising awareness and the roof, but the difference is I’ll be dropping some of the freshest, slickest verses I’ve ever written (according to others) each month, on my Patreon page.

So, if you’d like to see my new work, plus random behind the scenes, pictures & videos and a chance to get a mention on all my future book releases, then click the link below and help support an Aspie as I try to raise autism awareness…and hopefully have a few laughs too, who knows.

Love to you all.

Stay Safe X

Patreon (The Aspie Poet)

Gone

This weekend, I came across some frightening and shocking statistics about suicide. 800,000 people a year take their own lives. That’s a life every 40 seconds.

This reminded me of a podcast I had done about suicide a while back. It is a very dark subject, but is, nevertheless, one that we really need to start discussing, rather than brushing it under the carpet and pretending it doesn’t happen.

The fact is that suicide is the most common cause of death for men aged between 20-49. This is all males, not just autistic males, but over 60% of newly-diagnosed autistic adults report contemplating taking their own life.

These figures are so awful. We are starting to talk about mental health in general, but more needs to be done to help people away from that awful end. To know that they are not alone.

It inspired me to put pen to paper. Although it might not directly help anyone, you never know. And it’s my way of sorting things out in my own head too.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I give you my latest scribble.

Gone

According to recent statistics, 800,000

People die a year at their own hand.

That’s a life lost every forty seconds…

Swallowed by a darkness they can’t escape.

A voice silenced, while screaming for help.

While constantly being told that mental health 

Isn’t a polite topic of family conversation.

That little voice keeping you awake at night…

It’s insomnia driving you to that final sleep.

Trying to craft the right words to explain why.

Carefully planning a departure on your terms.

The ‘phone call your loved ones will receive

In the early hours. Life, like a clock, keeps 

Counting down the lives, every forty seconds.

(C) Bob Christian 2020

Responsibility

Yesterday I did something that I’ve never done before or thought I would. I used my platform on social media. To publicly attack someone for a something that was said. I know I’m being vague but I’m not bringing it back up.

The original post on my timeline was deleted by them and I deleted the post across my social media presence. I have since apologised to that person on the phone away from all this circus and resolved the issue. Unfortunately during this aforementioned fuster cluck other people joined in saying things on this public forum about Mrs Bob that we’re completely untrue and very hurtful.

I would therefore like to ask that they follow my example and begin to the process of reconciliation by apologising for what was said in anger. I’m not saying it needs to be public far from it in fact. I’d rather this was a private thing.

All this aside yesterday taught me a valuable lesson. It’s all very well having a public image, voice and presence on the stage that is the interwebz. You just have to be mindful of the things you say or do as the world is watching and waiting for you to make a mistake. When you do it’s a very unforgiving place. There is a place and time for everything.

Stay Safe X

Introducing

Allow me to introduce myself to you.

These are the results of historical,

Psychological, emotional and physical

Abuse. My brain should be fried, after

Drink, street and prescription drugs.

Issues hiding for years up in here.

Squatting inside this dark cranium.

Therapists have tried evicting ’em,

Seemed like I was stuck with them.

Then someone came, shedding light.

Thanks to her, I’ve got those answers

I’d been searching for. Closure. New

Beginnings – an identity I can relate

To. Atypical, not neurotypical, bitches.

I’d faced persecution, snake oil cures.

I’ve heard fucked up shit about 5G,

Inside jobs like 9/11, faked moon landing,

It’s nothing on the latest “cause” of my

Neurocondition. Not vaccines this time,

Pealing bells, marriage vows caused it.

I’d love to see the data to back it up.

You’ve none? Why am I not surprised…

Back the fuck up, I’ll stack the facts up,

If not for her I’d be broken, toking, getting

Off my head, shipwrecked, washed up.

I’m a gentleman now, with a brotherhood.

Stood, took my oaths, raised in the third

Degree, wrote four books. This success a result of

Teamwork. A bond you’ll never break, trust me.

Smarter people tried and failed. We prevailed.

Seasons Bleatings

It’s that time of year when we’re supposed to be selfless…forgive, forget, and be thankful or thoughtful of those that might not be doing as well as we are. This is paired with a massive spike in consumerism within the retail industry. The service industry in general sees an upturn in trade. In some establishments, the daily takings could double, even quadruple at this time of year.

Christmas (or Socially Awkward Annual Gift Day as I prefer to call it) in the Christian household is not really a big, long, drawn-out affair. This is due to the fact that I work in a busy, famous, riverside pub-restaurant in rural South Devon, and I was working every day except Christmas Day and the following Sunday. So, we made the most of a day off together and while the world sat around waiting patiently to see if they’d received this year’s must -have, short lived fad, Mrs Bob & me video-called our daughter and granddaughter to wish them a very happy Christmas. Our granddaughter has just turned 2-years-old and is getting very talky, so it was great fun to be able to interact with her and her mum and dad on Christmas Day.

We also went to our favourite beach, as we have done every Christmas Day since I first met Mrs Bob. It’s our tradition, and it turned out that this year we weren’t the only ones. It was full of well-meaning, well-wishing people and many zillions of happy pups zooming around. If I had a pound for every greeting of “Merry Christmas” I’d have £30-35 or thereabouts. Look, I know you’re only trying to be festive and nice to a rather gangly, socially awkward bi-ped, so I’m not going to get grumpy like some autistic Grinch. Just please note that I won’t respond with the same because …. any number of reasons. I can’t speak to strangers as it takes a while to process, then to form a response that won’t offend them then deliver it… oh wait, the moment’s passed and I now seem rude or moody. Or I’m just having a stuttering non-verbal issue and I’m self-conscious. Mrs Bob did all the smiling, greetingy stuff for both of us, so all was well.

We took the usual selfie with the sea and took time to breathe and centre ourselves before driving home. The rest of the day was spent at home, just the two of us, and Dog. If it seems strange to do that, it’s because I was only off Christmas Day and wanted to make the most of a day and night alone with Mrs Bob. This meant a glorious roast turkey, all the trimmings, mince pies and rum, plus the usual gift exchange and falling asleep in front of the Christmas TV movie.

I also decided that this year that I would video-call my parents, as my sister and mother were together and I could both see and hear them. I normally see my mum once a year in Devon, and due to my work commitments that is usually it. This year that hasn’t happened – I’ve talked to them on text or ‘phone, but haven’t seen them for a while and it’s even longer since I’ve seen my sister. All I know is that my niece and nephew have grown up so much that I hardly recognise them. My dad was elbow deep in the pot-washing, and the ladies had found wine, so everyone seemed very happy. This was a big thing for me, though, because I’ve found it hard to maintain a relationship with them due to distance, my work, plus lots of other factors. I got very anxious doing the call and I’m sure I came across weird, but at least I did it.

Work will be busy this week and it will continue until after new year. Then it slows down and I can finally go back to having two days off together to recuperate after five straight days of peopling. I can also look forward to a week off in late January for a special event, but that will be another adventure I’ll tell you next year.

I hope that your 2020 will be everything and anything you want it to be. Mrs Bob, Dog Dog’s Twitter and myself would like to thank you for following our exploits on here and social media over the year. Happy New Year to all.

Stay Safe X

We will see you next year.

Not for Sale

So a short time ago I was approached (private message) on Instagram by a page called Autism Connect saying they loved what I was doing and saying.

“Hey, we really liked what you’ve done with your profile, and we’re happy to see that you’re equally enthusiastic about spreading Autism Awareness & encouraging acceptance, as we are. Ours is a parent & professional run community of over 10,000 followers across our Social Media, and our sole mission is to create a more inclusive world for autistic children through these channels.

How do you feel about contributing to our Blogs as an Autism parent? We’d love to share with our community, what you dish out through your contributions, and hope you do the same for our posts, by sharing them on your social media!

Do get back to us to know more. Meanwhile, you can also go through our Blog Section.”

I was obviously very flattered, as it’s not often this happens, so I decided to check out their website. Autism Connect Homepage

It was only then that I started to notice warning signs, such as some of the therapy and treatments they recommend, including ABA therapy. For those of you who don’t know what Applied Behavioural Analysis, is allow me to explain.

In the early 1900’s, B.F. Skinner was working on the technology of conditioning. He wrote a landmark book called The Behavior of Organisms, describing the paramaters for the field of Behaviour Analysis. His studies on rats and pigeons changed how we view learning in animals today. But it was two of his graduate students, Keller and Marian Breland, who applied that research to widespread practical use. In 1947, they started a hugely successful business called Animal Behavior Enterprises, with the goal of demonstrating that there’s a better, scientific, technological way of training animals through rewarding correct behaviours.

Fast forward to 1961, and psychologist Ivar Lovaas began work at UCLA on the treatment of autism. He developed Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy in the 1970s. His original approach was developed from a technique called Discrete Trial Training (DTT).  The idea behind this is based on the original animal training through positive reinforcement.

It consists of three components:

1) the teacher’s instruction,

2) the child’s response (or lack of response) to the instruction,

3) the consequence, which is the teacher’s reaction in the form of positive reinforcement, “Yes, great!” when the response is correct, or a gentle “no” if it is incorrect.

ABA Therapy and DTT are both based on the finding that when behaviour is rewarded, it is more likely to be repeated.

So when I learnt that this potential partnership was with a site that agreed with and promoted ABA, I decided to look further. Some well-meaning sites have ABA links on them, but are not aware of the damage this therapy has on children. So I chatted with someone from the site live chat. We’ll call her Polly. I claimed to be a parent looking at therapy for a child, and low and behold, I was told about ABA. When I asked if it was safe and effective, Polly said “our therapists have found it both safe and effective.”

This was enough for me to realise that this is not a website I want to have links with, due to my views on this controversial form of therapy. On some sites it is claimed to “cure children of the symptoms of ASD”.

So, I have declined the offer explaining my views as an autistic adult. Thank you but no thank you, I may want to team up with partners like I have with Mental Movement, to raise awareness and my profile within the autism community. I just won’t sell out on my principles to do so.

Stay Safe X

Higher or Lower?

I recently read an article about certain labels, often used to describe the Autism Spectrum, and why they shouldn’t be used.

I’ve heard so many different ways to describe Autism and Asperger’s. They are all, at best, wrong, and at worst, severely damaging. Some of these labels include, but aren’t limited to: high-functioning, mild autism and autism light, like it’s the diet version of Autism or something equally stupid.

The reason that these are wrong is simple. I have a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome, and I now function pretty well in circumstances where I’m comfortable. Yet if you had met me many years ago, in my youth … when I was at my lowest … I would have been either unable to communicate with you, or had very impaired communication and social interaction. I sometimes exhibited some very bizarre and risky behaviour, I was rarely able to sleep, or was sleeping at the wrong times, and sometimes became very aggressive. I self-medicated with alcohol and prescription and street drugs. Frequent self-injury resulted in my waking up in the resuscitation room of my local hospital on more than one occasion. I’m glad those days seem to be in the past, now.

Yet in more recent years, you would find that, I’m quite sociable and have a very demanding and intense public-facing job, Despite this, I still have great difficulty in communicating effectively and interpreting how or what others are thinking or feeling. I really can struggle badly with facial expressions, body language and social cues. I also struggle to regulate my own emotions, but I’ve learned to channel this into my writing. I really love repetition and routine. I also have a very big love of science, mainly quantum mechanics and geek culture, including going to conventions and interviewing some big names.

Why have I told you all this? Well, if you just looked at or met me when I had the first set of behaviours and symptoms you would probably say I had low-functioning autism. Whereas if you met me today, you would maybe say that I’m a bit eccentric or have a form of high-functioning autism. The fact is that I am me.. the same me as I was then, and I now have a diagnosis of Asperger’s or Autism Spectrum Disorder. That should be sufficient, without putting “functioning” labels on it because as the above proves, it’s a spectrum. As such, we can find ourselves at varying points on the spectrum at certain times in our lives. I am Autistic – that’s it – my functioning level can and always will vary depending on external situations and stimuli.

In short, labels go on food cans, not people.

Stay Safe X

Estate of Mind (2019 Remix)

Here we have a remix of a piece I wrote years ago for my anthology, Scribblology V2.

I decided to look at it again, and re-evaluate it. Bring it up to date. So here it is. I hope you enjoy it, but do let me know what you think.

Stay Safe X

Estate of Mind (2019 Remix)

Bob W Christian

Take a walk down a dark memory lane with me…

A nightmare experiment on social deprivation.

These ends have seen better days; boys from

Eton messed up – screwed us over for a profit.

Calling us drunks, criminals, feckless idiots,

Looking down from your nonflammable towers.

We can’t ignore this horror story like you can.

Streets littered with heroin needles; hell-raising

Flames shooting from cars; replacing the broken lamps,

Lighting up the desperate estate of mind we call reality.

“Get a job, save up, better yourself, pull yourself out

Of austerity. Climb that property ladder”,

While living cheque-to-cheque. Can’t deposit on zero hours.

Withdrawing food from banks; it’s no way to live.

We really are in this together, fighting to survive.

(C) Bob W Christian