Saturday, November 21, 2015

Oh My Migraines!

There has been more than one post here on this blog began recently by me only to be abandoned in the draft folder, unfinished, and gathering mental dust. I'm not one to usually start a writing project, and then move to another before finishing the first. When I do, it is usually certain death for the first piece, as I never again get my thoughts back on track to completion. I tend to forget where I was going, and it all gets derailed.

This time is different. Or, maybe it isn't in the grand scheme of finished products, but in the situation behind what is driving my haphazard writing. In the last few months I have been suffering from migraines. They seem to be be getting progressively worse to the point where I am now, which is almost always in a constant vortex of pain, nausea, and vertigo. I lose my words. My thoughts get lost in a cloudy fog of confusion. I find it difficult to complete daily tasks that need to be completed, and things like writing get put way at the end of my to do list. My ability to read, and write is so compromised at this point that being able to complete more than a few sentences with comprehension fully intact is difficult at best.

This has been exceptionally hard for me, because I am a very active person. I am fully dedicated to my fitness routines, and am always baking, cleaning, and playing with Beans. When I am not up, and moving I am mentally engaged in writing, couponing, social media, and more. I am rarely sitting still passively watching TV, or something like that, so when an illness strikes me that compromises all those things, the things that make me feel like me, I have extreme difficulty coping.

I have been still doing quite a lot of those things, just on a different level. The housework, and looking after Beans is mandatory. Things still have to get done, and so I do them. I don't lie down when I have a migraine. I just push through the pain. This does not mean I am not in pain. My sensory system, as well as my personality (which is driven my a masochistic level of perfectionism. I have been working on dealing with the obsessive perfectionism, but that is another topic for another post for another day.) deals with pain differently. My sensory system, now that is directly related to my autism. It scrambles pain signals, and the way I express pain is also different. I almost never act like anything is an emergency, even when it is. My affect will never convey the actual level of pain that I am, or am not in. Since I have a new doctor I thought that this was going to be very difficult to express. I had only seen him one time, in which I had not disclosed the diagnosis of Asperger's. In preparation of this appointment I prepared a list of symptoms that occur when I have these headaches, as well as tucked my psychological evaluation papers into my purse. I really thought that I'd be met with disbelief about my disclosure, and have to show him proof. To my surprise, he was not the least bit skeptical. He didn't question it at all. He also mentioned that he knew I never got to rest, and how that must take everything I have everyday, because Beans is so busy, and active all day. He understood. That was so amazing. All of my negative expectations (which were probably exaggerated knowing me! lol) were all for naught. I was really expecting so much dismissal. He did mention that since Beans has such a high level of need I must be able to be on top of things, and it's dangerous for me not to be able to do that. With migraines a person's brain swells, and pushes on the skull. This causes all sorts of issues, but among them is confusion, and memory issues. This is happening a lot with me. My brain is, to put it simply, not working right. I can't think, and I can't remember things. This is very hard for me, since I am one that is used to my brain being quick witted, and one of my best attributes. It would be hard for anyone, really, I am doing ridiculous things like forgetting to use oven mitts, and in what order to do everyday things in. I lose my words, and walk into rooms, and can't remember why I'm there. All day, every day.

I'm not sure where I was going with this post, because I lost my train of thought, and have tried to find it again, and again.... This isn't really one of those posts where I share a well executed story, or some information designed to share something I know with you. It's more of a personal ramble of sorts. I haven't been posting as much on here, or on my page, and this is why. I also have some projects that I promised a few people, but haven't gotten done. This is why. I am trying some new medications that will hopefully help me to feel better. Fingers crossed. I hope to be back to posting regularly soon!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Gift of Melancholy

I often use mornings to sort myself into my day. It's always been slow going, because I'm not a morning person in any sense of the word. My brain, it's slow to turn on, and slow to power down, as well. I don't know how some people jump up, and run with the day never giving pause to check in gently with themselves to gauge how things are going. How their body feels in this new day, or plan on what they might do today. For me, this is an essential part of my routine. Maybe this is why I am not as productive as other people? I don't know. Seems quite plausible that my forever running commentary inside my dreamy head is part of what slows me down. I couldn't imagine just being on autopilot, and getting straight to tasks without thinking, and warming up to the task itself first.

Today I am feeling reflective. It's midmorning, and I'm thinking that my day is getting away from me, but then I can't pull myself away from my comfortable chair, and cozy afghan covering my lap. We got a new couch the day before yesterday. The old one is gone, and my living room is completely rearranged. I am now seated beside a window that I never could see out of much before. The autumn sun shines brightly through the windows on this side of the house, as opposed to the summer positioning, which none of my living room windows face. I'm sipping coffee in a quiet living room while I watch the bright yellow leaves flutter to the ground gently resting on the faded green grass. It's odd how a simple change in furniture can make a room feel almost new again. There's a part of me that resists these changes, even if they are much more comfortable, or better than the old way, because I process change in such a slow way. There's another part of me that really welcomes the different circumstances to refresh my outlook. Neither is right, and neither is dominate. They both just are different views that I have to the same situation.

There also this other feeling. The gentle tap, tap, tapping of autumn brings

Monday, October 12, 2015

Using What I Know to Become Me

Dreams are something that fascinate me. I have written about them quite a bit before. I am usually pretty good at deciphering the meanings of my dreams by use of dream dictionaries, and my own experience, since I have been actively analyzing dreams, and even at times have kept a dream journal for over 20 years now.

Recently, I have been having dreams about having a garage sale, or a yard sale. I think it is most usually in a garage, which is interesting, because I don't have one in real life. I find that it further adds to the meaning of the dream.

According to a couple of dream dictionaries that I consulted dreaming of garage sales can mean that I am recycling past experiences and finding use for my old skills and ideas, and learning from my past in order to make productive use of the lessons I've have learned. 

In all of my dreams there are so many obstacles in the way of me having this sale that I have been preparing for. Not only have I strategically been preparing, but the sale is necessary for me to move on. I need the funds, and to get rid of the stuff to make room for something new. In some of the dreams I am moving somewhere else. In others I just need the money, and space in order to buy something new. In my last dream I was at a friend's house, and she was having a garage sale,and I was trying to help her. I asked her why she didn't come to me sooner, because I have so much experience with them. I wanted to help her be successful in her endeavors. 

In all of the dreams I am not in the house I currently live in. Nor am I usually in one that I recognize, but people from my past are often there. People that have not treated me well. They try to block me from selling. Sometimes they try to throw my stuff away, or shut the garage door, or even sabotage customers. They always upset me greatly, but I manage to move on anyway. I always manage to out think them.I know it is crucial to my success to out maneuver the people in my dreams, and I can't let myself fail.

I think this reoccurring dream is about learning from

Can We Stop Vilifying Antidepressants?

The doctor entered the room, and asked how I was. "Not well," I responded dryly. "Otherwise I wouldn't be here, right?" She laughed as if she hadn't heard it before, or maybe she just wasn't expecting it from me. I had no energy for pleasantries, and small talk. My words were dry, and blunt. Any fears I may have held about what others might think of me were simply gone. It had been swept away in a torrent of blackness that had enveloped my entire being. It was such an odd feeling to be absent from anxiety, as it was replaced with a depth of depression that reached further down than I knew existed. In that office, that day I sat there with the last bit of strength I could muster, and admitted that I needed help.

What had brought me to that point? Surely it was not an overnight thing? It couldn't have been, and it wasn't. I have been depressed on, and off for the last 23 years. Quite a lot more on than off, I should say. I'd been told by numerous doctors, and psychiatrists that I had depression. When I was evaluated a few years ago the clinician tacked on dysthymic disorder to Asperger's. I balked. She didn't know what she was talking about. I was not chronically in a state of melancholy, I thought. Except I was, and I couldn't face it.

But, why couldn't I face it? What was it that made it so difficult?

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Because I'm Special!- Examining the narcissism factor of today's young adults

Recently there was a viral story going around about a nasty note that was passed to a parent about their baby's excited shrieks at a restaurant from another table. I'm not going to link it, because I don't want to turn this into a blog solely about that situation. By the time this is published that story will probably be old news, and everyone will have moved on to finding a new situation to be fired up about, anyway.

But, what is it about these viral stories that get people going, anyway? Is it the commonality of the situation? Maybe we can remember a time we dealt with such a thing, or can empathize with the persons in the story, and imagine being in such common situations that we all feel qualified to weigh in on things.

There was another recently where a restaurant owner screamed at a crying toddler to shut up, and get out. That one also received worldwide attention. People loved, and hated her for her actions. The majority, or at least the most vocal sent their accolades.

These types of situations have me wondering how social media is changing the social structure of society. How are things different now, than they were 20 years ago before there was such a things as "going viral"? How are people born in the 90's, or even 80's different, and how is that so many people my age seem to have evolved into this phenomenon?

I don't have all the answers, or probably any of them in a definitive sense. I do have some theories. One of them being the narcissism factor seems to have increased exponentially in the last 20 years, maybe even 30 years when our pop psychology culture moved toward the "You're Special" movement. I am not sure exactly where it all began, or by whom. If I recall it began as a sort of self-help tool for people who were suffering from low self-esteem. What we did was figure going the opposite direction would be solve that. We ran with the theory that one could never have too much self-esteem, so we began raising our children in ways that enveloped that ideal. I do think there were also a lot of other factors that played into this, such as the majority of women working full time jobs as our culture shifted from women being expected to stay home, and raise children. Many didn't/don't see this as an option, but more of a necessity. As this transition occurred support has not risen to match. Women are still paid less than men, and childcare is expensive, and hard to find when quality is concerned. Women find themselves unfairly saddled with work, and domestic chores unevenly compared to their male counterparts. Childcare is considered a women's issue rather than a people's issue. But, I digress. My point is simply that children born in the 80's, and 90's who are now adults didn't necessarily get the same level of guidance, and care that used to be provided in the past. When we combine the lessons of feeling special just for being yourself, and less guidance from adult role models we often get what would be considered narcissistic behavior. I think there are a lot of other factors that play into this attitude shift, but these two are the ones I feel that are at the top.

I have heard a lot of people defend the all the women in the scenarios from the screaming owner to the passive aggressive note passers that people should not bring children into public places when they're , being a nuisance. Screaming children, and babies making happy squeals belong at home- they say. They claim that it is their right to enjoy their meal in peace without other people's kids ruining it by being... well, kids.  I can't help but wonder when we became a society that expected every environment to cater to us? When was it that we as people decided that it was our right to a quiet meal at a jam packed steakhouse? Of course, people will counter me with "Well, when did people that it was their right to subject their children's noise onto everyone else?" I don't recall that being an issue 35 years ago. Not because we raise our children differently, and "don't parent" (as many say), but because we had a basic understanding that 10 month old babies make noise, and that's the way it is. Our rights don't override anyone else's. In other words, we used to deal. We had empathy, and respect for others, and did not feel like every person needed to hear our two cents. We might have thought a lot of things, but used some basic manners in discerning what to actually share with the world. We didn't feel special, or entitled to anything for just being alive.

It wasn't the baby that ruined those lady's meals. It was their attitude about the baby that ruined their meal, and other's as well since they figured they needed to share their misery.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

If I Don't speak Up Who Will?

Recently I was browsing through some Facebook posts, and I stumbled across one in particular. I don't recall the exact name of the page, but I do remember that it was about children with special needs. Within the post the administrator of the page told a story about something that had happened to her at work that day. The scene depicted was one of a developmentally delayed young adult fighting with her mother, and the mother using rather harsh words to the daughter. It was portrayed in the light of equality between the two relationships, and even further that the behavior from the mother was out of frustration. Perhaps, they needed a break from each other, was the final word from the post author.

I read through the comments, and my heart began to race faster with a feeling of anger, and disbelief. The majority were so negative from the perspective of the parents. I couldn't believe that some read the same exact passage as I just did, and came away with not only a feeling that the mother's words were okay, but that they were absolutely justified.

Then there was that one. If you're like me, and let most ugly things go, until there's that one comment that just pushes you over the edge straight into a rant about how effed up that person's post is, then you know what I'm talking about. It was

Sunday, October 4, 2015

#Students with #Disabilities Should be #Safe at #School

This is a post in which I discuss one of the projects that I have been working on within my home state. I have shied away from much of any mention of it due to the ease of which my readers will be able to access my identity. After much thought (probably too much!) I have decided to blog about this issue with confidence. It's more important to me that things change within our educational system for our children than for me to remain anonymous. The issues that I am going to discuss in this blog are long overdue for change, and I have a platform in which I can speak from, so I am.

You might want to get yourself some coffee, or tea. Get comfy.  This is going to be a long read. I have a lot to say, but it so desperately needs to be heard.

Let's start from the beginning.

Back in February I was contacted by our state's local disability rights center about a meeting that was coming up for the state department of education. It was to suggest some changes in the regulations that the dept set forth in how schools can implement seclusion, and restraint. I testified about Beans incident at school, and how how the state board failed to protect him. Other parents also testified, as did advocates.

In the end, the board felt that what was already in place was sufficient.

After that disability advocates decided to propose a bill in which it clearly outlined when, and how seclusion, and restraint (Emergency Safety Intervention or ESI) can be used by schools. It went through all the proper places. I testified about Ian's school incident at two of those meetings, as did other parents, and agencies from our state who advocate for disability rights.

The stories that the parents told were awful. It was one after another of horrific incidents of children

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Knock Knock...This is #Anxiety - it's an emergency! Let me in!

I often write about expanding my own horizons, and testing my boundaries. Recently, I have written about not caring so much what people think, or if I get feedback from others that seems to support my choices. Then, as luck would have it, or probably not really luck if I am honest with myself, but rather just the way my neurology operates, I am hit with a bout of acute anxiety.

The day before yesterday I got a haircut. It wasn't much different, and I felt okay, and comfortable about it. I was feeling overwhelmed in general that day, but nothing that would rise to my attention as noteworthy. I posted a picture of my new do on Facebook. Then, my husband came home, and seemed not to even notice, or give much thought to my new haircut even after I asked about it. This made me feel really anxious. I began to fret. I immediately felt like i should not have posted a picture of it, and I deleted it from my timeline. Anxious thoughts filled my brain from thinking that I was wrong to make a big deal out of something so small as a haircut to feeling like maybe it didn't look very good. "Just who do you think you are to feel like anyone wants to even be bothered with something so minute as seeing your haircut?" That was one of my main thoughts Which spiraled into feeling like a fake for feeling this way, but always promoting healthier thinking. How in the world can I talk about something with any kind of authority if I can't even do it? Oh, my.... I think I'm a fraud. I think I am ugly, and probably fat, and maybe a bad person, too.

Then, I paused. Literally. I hit pause on my brain, my thoughts stuttered to a halt as did my whole body.

"Hello depression." I said to myself. "I see you are sneaking in behind your buddy anxiety."

I recognized all the the bad thoughts that lie to me until I am living in a shadow of who I am as a symptom of depression. They convince me that I am not worthy, and when they sneak in behind thoughts of fear I am so vulnerable that I believe them.

Not this time.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Local Parents Share Their Success in Using Shame as an Effective Parenting Tool #Satire

******Please be aware that this post is satire. It's not meant to be taken seriously. Any comment left that fails to understand that will be deleted.*********

When area parents Chris, and Lisa discovered their teenaged daughter Mariah had been using social media to meet boys, and post racy pictures of herself they knew they had to take action. "We considered having her wear a sign that would declare her mistakes to really damage her budding sense of sexuality, but that seemed like a lot of work," Noted the frustrated father. "I mean you have to go get a board, and write on it, as well as make sure she stays on the corner all day in full view of traffic to properly shame her. Who has that kind of time?" Added his wife.

They eventually settled on making a video about how awful they find their daughter's character, and posting it not only on their social media, but on their daughter's as well. This option provided the most efficiency, as well as exposure for their friends to pat them on the back for their clearly superior parenting skills. When asked what kind of message they hope this sends to their daughter the father replied "I hope it really helps her understand that going against authority can be humiliating if she is caught." "We need her to understand that her body is shameful, and shouldn't be shown to others except when it should, but this isn't the time," Added Lisa.

The parents have received a whole heap of praise from many around the nation who agree that talking to teens, and preparing them with facts, and safety measures, such as birth control isn't enough in today's world. "Well, we can't give them whippins anymore, so what else are we parents to day nowadays!" Exclaimed one mother from Alabama in response to the video. Others asked why the parents didn't want to explore other alternative techniques, such as monitoring their daughter's accounts, and being more open to communicating about the boys she likes to chat with, but those were not options that Chris, and Lisa were even aware of at the time.  "I really feel like she learned a lesson about social media, and privacy. We don't know who we are talking to, or where out photos may end up on the internet, so she has to be careful about her reputation." Said the mother as she takes a break from answering all the messages she has received on Facebook since the video was posted.

In other news
Teen Suicide is at an all time high- Is there anything we can do?
Is Your Child a Bully?- "I don't know where all his anger is coming from," admits one parent.
Providing a Moral Compass for Your Teen- Who has time for that anymore?
"Help! My Daughter Has Sexual Feelings!"  One mother's fight to squash her daughter's self-esteem, and sense of a healthy relationship with the opposite sex. How she did it.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Blossoming in the Shadows #socialanxiety #healing

"To hide your true self from the world, because you fear judgment is a waste of your essence. It's a life half lived, and a spirit dimmed."

That has been my mantra that I have made up for myself.  I have needed it lately as I face a new challenge. If you read my blog very often you might know that I set up challenges for myself all the time.I reevaluate  where I am, and where I want to be constantly, and then decide what I can do to reach those new goals. To be stagnant is to stop growing as a person, and that's not something that I can tolerate in my life. I have to keep my mind sharp, and my ideas fresh. I'm always pushing the boundaries of ideas, and goals, but in a quiet, contemplative sort of way.

My newest challenge to myself is to build confidence. This entails many steps. It means I have to like myself. It means I have to invest more stock into what I think than what others think. It means I have to take risks that others might not like me, or respond favorably to me.

This has not been easy.

The way that I have always handled myself was to play it safe, except