First holiday abroad
It’s been a long time coming. Today is the day my brother goes on his first real holiday! His first holiday since he was a teenager, and other than a trip to Ireland when he was about nine years old, he has never been abroad. He is now 48.
After living with psychosis for many years, he received the help he desperately needed two years ago in the form of a sectioning under the Mental Health Act, and then a rather long fight to get him long term assistance. As many of you will know, he is now living in a supported living environment through Mencap. The psychosis is under control, and this has made his Autism much more noticeable. The voices in his head and extreme paranoia are no longer there, and we are left with some rather quirky autistic traits that are much easier to deal with.
Our mother and step father live in France, and as with everyone, they aren’t getting any younger. Sowing the seed with Adam a year ago to see if a trip to Brittany would be on the cards, lead to a process of planning and processing. Remember the trip to his passport interview? Such a bench marked day!
Today is the day.
So tonight we will be sailing from Plymouth to Rosscof. The weather is not looking good. A big swell and a side wind of 40 mph. Delightful! I’m not good on boats, but I have someone else to look out for this time. This trip has been planned with military precision, as we allow for the traffic and the endless queuing at the terminal. If you asked him a few months ago if he was looking forward to it, he would say he didn’t know how he would manage with five adults in the same house for three days. His anxiety was very high! Thinking back to when he lived at home, all he remembers is that everyone used to row, and it was always about him. This is very true as we didn’t know how to deal with him. There was no spectrum for autism in those days.
He’s stuck in a time warp.
Back in the 70s, the arguments at home were continuous. I spent my teenage years being really embarrassed by him, as he was always in trouble! He only really remembers those times. He has no conception of what it could be like now.
We have made a contingency plan, that if it all turns pear shaped – which it won’t – we could actually come home early. The fact we are only going for three days makes this very unlikely. He just needed to know there is an exit strategy!
It really makes you grateful for what you have and how humbling it is to be able to take someone like my brother on holiday. For us, it’s just second nature. For him, it’s a massive event. Sitting back and allowing him time to process everything around him, and answering questions that we may think are a bit daft, is all part of the process. Really it’s like meeting my brother again after many years.
The weather is looking good and Tee-shirts will be required. I will make sure I take lots of photos and you will find another post at the weekend. He won’t be eating frogs legs – He may however, try mussels as he knows what the look like! Familiarity is key.