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Author, educator, truth-seeker. Writing my way to freedom or thereabouts. Talk to me @cjflood_author. She/her/they.

Also known as: “For someone so clever you can be pretty dumb!”

I can write an award-winning novel but I can’t find my way around the city center.

The spiky profile in autism is one of the biggest tells if you are playing Autism Detective. Which you shouldn’t because disability isn’t a game.

But to get a better sense of what I’m talking about, let’s have a look at how the spiky profile manifests in me, Chelbo F.

Exhibit A

I’m a published author but I cannot keep track of what day it is. Sometimes I know and sometimes I don’t. (Right now it’s Wednesday. Oops, no, Thursday. Ok, close.)

The problem is that the day names are arbitrary. And they all feel/sound/taste/smell the same. And they change every day

I was diagnosed last December and I’m still searching for the tools to help me

Author illustration

A strange thing: many people feel more autistic after diagnosis. But do they feel more autistic? Or does life just seem more challenging?

I was diagnosed recently, at 37, and for me, it’s like this: I know what’s going on — finally. I’m autistic. But the world hasn’t got the memo.

I have useful knowledge but the obstacles around me remain the same.

Some of those around us newly diagnosed autistic people night observe that we seem ‘worse’ post-diagnosis.

“You were better off before,” they claim. And it hurts when they say this because it feels unfair. …

Autistic people share tips (and disasters) from their adventures with packing

One time I packed flip-flops as my main footwear for the snowy mountains. True story.

Packing is a masterclass in executive functioning. It requires planning, organisation, proficiency in adaptable thinking, self-monitoring, self-control, working memory and time management. All things I struggle with.

As a result, I have made some dubious packing choices. Do you relate? Here they are in order of least absurd to most, for your enjoyment. After my disasters, read on to hear some tips.

Poor packing #3

Destination: a writing residency at a castle in Edinburgh

I was the guest of the castle for a month, with four other writers staying. What should a person take to such a dream scenario?

My work-in-progress was based…

Thanks for all the wonderful posts, time for a new chapter…

Photo by Simon Berger on Unsplash

Thank you for passing on your hope and encouragement! We have loved published your stories of recovery from addiction and abusive relationships. Unfortunately, we have no time to do the editorial work required anymore, without payment. Two years has been wonderful, but we are ready to focus on other things.

Beautiful Hangover will continue to post stories, featuring articles by our editorial team: Gillian May, Maria Hayes, Doran Lamb, Megan Holstein, and me, Chelsey Flood.

Thanks for reading and helping to build a community for us sober folks. …

Panos Mayindombe was 19 when he first experienced racism on the court. Retiring, aged 33, he isn’t sure it’s any better

Images by JMP

Panos Mayindome lives in Bristol, where for the last four years he has played professional basketball for the Bristol Flyers. In July this year he retired, and he is now enjoying a recovery period, as well as building his business as a personal trainer and spending quality time with his family.

Panos was 19 when he realised that the stories he’d heard about racism in basketball were true. …

The first part of breaking the patterns you were born into is recognizing them

Photo by Ankhesenamun on Unsplash

There’s a note in my diary I wrote around age 19.

I don’t know what to do about my social anxiety. I feel like I’m going to have to do something about it but what? Or maybe I can just become an alcoholic…

I was doing a degree which I absolutely loved and drinking a lot. Sometimes I got into trouble with booze but quitting was unthinkable.

Drinking unlocked my real personality. I needed it. And I loved it. I just sometimes drank too much.

Become an Alcoholic

My social anxiety was the only blight on the horizon. Luckily beer cured it. One…

Or how to live your best horizontal life

The artist as a potato

Full disclosure, right now my brain is fried. I’m defending against burnout. And so this post is really sharing tips from my settee. I hope that’s okay.

How I let go of internalized beliefs that made me deeply unhappy

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

My parents taught me a lot, but not all of their lessons were healthy. Do you relate?

My mum is wonderful and hilarious and beautiful and hardworking. But when I was little, I saw her spend years of her life trying to change my dad. She wanted him to come home from the pub earlier. To dress more smartly. To work harder. To be more professional.

My dad was kind and funny and handsome and talented. But from my perspective his refusal to compromise cost him a lot. …

Or how I spent hundreds of pounds not solving my biggest problems really slowly

None of my therapists looked like this, but you try drawing from memory with aphantasia.

Nice white lady #1, 2015

Trigger: A friend pushed me to go to the doctor after I admitted to having suicidal thoughts. (Apparently, this is alarming. Who knew?)

I cried to the GP and was given a prescription for Citalopram and a number to call the Talking Therapies team. Three months later I sat in front of nice white lady #1, wondering what the hell to talk about.

It was CBT, apparently, but it felt aimless. I was horrified to find that I seemed to be leading the sessions though I had no clue what was going on.

It was strange being listened to. Getting…

A plea to donate to Shannon Ashley’s lifesaving operation fund and to reflect on how you use your platform

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Yesterday I donated to Shannon Ashley’s crowdfunding campaign because of an email from Tom Kuegler. The headline was: Chelsey, I should’ve done this last week, and I was intrigued, so I opened the message.

He shared Shannon’s crowdfunder and a generous donation appeared in her fund.

Good for you, Tom, I thought. But he was right. He should have done this sooner. Someone with so huge a platform, to whom Shannon is a colleague of sorts. It made me reflect on something I struggle with on this platform. Unacknowledged privilege.

Both of these writers have lots of talent, but very…

Chelsey Flood

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