Member Voice - Nathan's blog

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Hey there, I’m Nathan! I was given a laptop through KeyRing’s Creating Connections project to enable me to enrol on a coding course. I figured I should give something back for that, and I don’t have much, but what I came up with is little update blog type things, I figure that could be cute? Maybe the anecdotes can help somebody? Maybe? 

I’m not sure how I’ll get along with writing yet, but that’s what I’m attempting here! 

Before KeyRing’s involvement - I cycled in and out of crises; personal, financial, mental. I really struggled staying connected to reality, or education, or any sort of meaningful relationship. I think this is a common experience shared by a lot of a certain type of autistic person. When I was referred to KeyRing, I was initially pessimistic after my one experience with a previous agency.  

From our first meeting, Laura, my support worker, has been a present and stable foundation that I’ve been able to anchor myself to and find my own stability for growth. With her help, I’ve been able to work in advocacy - even with surgeries in South Tyneside to better accommodate autistic people like me! I’ve even run some other workshops and taken part in pretty big conferences, that was a whirlwind, and one that I’m pretty proud of. 

Outside of work, I love the history of local infrastructure, I’ve been fascinated by waggonways for years, which were like railways but made for horse-drawn “waggons” in the 17th to 19th centuries. I’ve started taking photos with old digital cameras, the cameras all have their own quirks and unique colour profiles.

I mainly love the obscurity that comes with noise and low pixel counts, it lets the imagination run away a little. If anyone has suggestions of experimental cinema that I could watch relating to this interest, I would love to hear from you! 

In fact - I’ve been watching shows and movies for the first time in about 15 years. Most recently, I watched an anime called “Serial Experiments Lain”, which explores the blurred line between reality and the web, and how we exist within the memories of other people. The first episode has some great representations of sensory overload. 

After moving onto rail infrastructure maintenance for a year, I burned out pretty hard and had to take some time off to recover. I found the work to be too socially demanding for me. Meanwhile, my universal credit claim had been closed, leaving me with debts of nearly £1000, and my clumsiness due to being burned out caused me to break my phone and computer. I felt like giving up, and without Laura, maybe I’d have spiralled, but she had my back. 

After some difficulties, I eventually got a great job coach, and he suggested that I take a coding course as something with low social demands, sounds great. Frustratingly, I’d just irreparably broken my computer.   

I joked with Laura that I needed a laptop to take the course and to my surprise, she said she’d see what she could do. It all came together with involvement from Charlie, who is going to help me with these updates too. I like to think I’ve lucked out, but KeyRing are really outstanding. Maybe it’s both, but they really are great, what support should look like. 

This has also allowed me to get involved with a local project as a board member, where I want to help out as much as I can. Thank you for reading. I hope you continue to follow me along this journey. See you soon. 

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