August aspirations

I’m early with my August aspirations because we’re off to the fabulous Camp Bestival tomorrow, followed by a camping trip to France, and I didn’t want to miss this month’s post.

In my July aspirations I was planning the summer holidays, quitting smoking and considering sharing the news that I have been diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder. So how has that been working out? We’re a week and a half into the holidays and having a blast. Sure it’s utterly exhausting, but it’s also the best of times. We’ve been mixing up planned activities, time with friends, and chill out time. I absolutely love spending time with my three children and I feel incredibly blessed.

Quitting smoking didn’t work out first time. I suffered from incredible cravings, irritability, meltdowns of epic proportions and a general feeling that I absolutely couldn’t cope. So I started smoking again, and as well as feeling like a failure I felt trapped. Trapped in a habit that I didn’t want but couldn’t escape from.

Then several friends mentioned ecigs/personal vaporisers. I was sceptical, wasn’t that just swapping one addiction for another? However according to this article on the NHS choices website they are a much better choice than cigarettes, given that they contain one thousandth less toxins.

Cigarettes contain over 4000 chemicals, including 43 known cancer causing compounds. Vaporisers contain only four ingredients, nicotine, propylene glycol (used to make artificial smoke for stage), glycerin (used in asthma inhalers as a carrier), and flavourings (used in food). When I looked at the evidence I was reassured that I could use a vaporiser to help me quit without such terrible withdrawal symptoms.

So far so good, I’m not smoking cigarettes, instead using my vaporiser, and am on the lowest nicotine strength available. I feel better for it. The long term plan is to eventually vape no nicotine liquids and then quit altogether. So for August the plan is to just keep on not smoking, especially when I’m overwhelmed by cravings. Reminding myself that I do not want to be a smoker.

Learning to cope with the new knowledge of my autistic spectrum condition is an ongoing challenge. Some days are great, and others I’m overwhelmed by anxiety, and a general sense that I just can’t cope with consciousness. My aspiration is to ride these difficult days, using positive self talk, remembering the good days, reminding myself of all the positives in my life. To keep trying out techniques to manage my worries, sensory issues and meltdowns. I have seen progress, the battle is to keep going day after day, even on the tough days.

In addition to this I’m working on appropriate social interaction. I tend to be an open book, giving everyone all the information whether they wanted it or not. Using my inappropriate sense of humour to attempt to endear myself to people, and instead presenting myself in a way which I am not proud of.  So I’m practising, and watching myself, working on this issue. I want to be able to succeed at the vast variety of interactions that my life involves.

No new aspirations this month. More of an ongoing project, finding and maintaining a more peaceful, happy existence for myself and my family.

Whatever you’re doing during August I hope that it brings joy and fulfilment all round. Enjoy the summer, whatever the weather.