Thursday, December 31, 2015

All Things Considered @TheMightySite #autistic

If you've been following me for a long time, or maybe even just for a little amount of time you might have gathered that I'm the type of person that doesn't jump into conflicts in the heat of the moment. I would rather sit back, and gather all the different angles while not getting involved in any way while I decide what to think. This is not the same as rendering my judgement, per se. The thing about being a contemplative, empathetic person that rarely takes sides is that I don't search to answer the question "Who is wrong here." No, rather I ask myself "What happened here." There rarely is a clear right, or wrong party, and perspective is everything. Since I am a bit of a loner in terms of joining up with others to form groups I typically don't have a preset bias, either. Well, okay, maybe we all have some bias by nature, but I form no loyalty to a specific group.

So, when there was a big conflict at a site called The Mighty  I didn't jump right into the mix right away.  I did read about it before the stories started getting to ripe with emotion, and facts got too bent out of shape. Though, I was never able to read the actual article that set off the whole controversy, I do know that the author is autistic. If I recall, she was even new to blogging, but I may be mistaken there. In any event, that was what I knew about the situation that escalated into hashtags, and open letters, the whole 9 yards.

As the day wore on more people tweeted, and more people blogged. Mobs of people gathered to express their outrage at this author, and at this article. At first, I read that no one cares if she's autistic, too, she shouldn't have written what what she did, and The Mighty should never have published it. Then, people demanded an apology, which was given by The Mighty I don't think most accepted it. I think it was sincere, but it was beside the point to me.

In my opinion the whole campaign was justified, but left of center.

Let me explain why.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Soothing My Loneliness Pt. 2- Autism...or...?

After hitting publish yesterday on my Soothing my Loneliness post it occurred to me that the post might come across to some as something other than I intended. As soon as the thought hit me that evening I rushed back to my computer to edit in a disclaimer, holding my breath anxiously as I typed. I needed people to be aware that my intention for sharing was not to gain reassurance, or pity, or even necessarily solutions. I hadn't thought that it might come across that way when I wrote it, but I can definitely see how it can be read that way by others, and I needed to clear that point up before any miscommunications happened.

I also don't want the friends that I do have to think that anything I wrote is somehow personally directed at them, or that they're somehow responsible for fixing any of the issues I spoke about in that blog post. While I don't have any close friends nearby, I do have close friends far away. I find the issue of me speaking about my feelings of isolation at odds with my need to not hurt their feelings. This feeling of disconnect that I feel from others is not something they can fix. No one can. It's something that I am going to have to figure out how to deal with myself.  Sometimes you meet someone that changes your life forever by clicking in a way that you never knew a person could, but for me those people have been very, very, very rare. I care deeply for other humans, and am always willing to help almost anyone in any way I can, but a I connect on a meaningful level with almost none. My constant pull to introversion, and my constant yearning for connection with others is always at odds. It's a constant push pull that I have not yet began to even come close to reconciling. How can a person be a humanitarian, and yet a loner? I don't know.

To get closer to finding the answer I have to retrace my steps to how I got to where I am. I need to peel back the layers of what I'm about.

When I was a young teenager I became fascinated with Asian porcelain dolls. In particular the ones that have painted faces. I collected several. What I liked even more than the dolls were the porcelain mask wall hangings. 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Soothing My Loneliness

Some people have the same dreams over, and over, sometimes for years. I have never done this. Not once.  I have, however had the same theme repeat, sometimes for quite some time. Lately this repeating theme for me has been dreaming of caring for a baby girl.

Sometimes, having baby dreams means starting a new project, or feeling overwhelmed with responsibility, and many more things. In the dreams that I have been having for the last 6 months or so I have a baby that is a girl, but I often forget her places, or forget to feed her. Not a lot, though in the recent dreams. In the recent dreams I seem more prepared to meet her needs, and am able to keep up with most of her feeding times. She is smiling, and most of the way happy, but not totally. There is an underlying worry of her health in most of the dreams. I worry silently about the health issue, but I never talk about it. She is solely mine, and it seems that no one else is connected to her whatsoever. Unlike other babies no one else ever holds this baby, or cares for her in any way.

Since these dreams keep repeating I am guessing that it's a sticking point for me. Somewhere, I am emotionally, or mentally stuck. From the reading, and experience that I have with dream interpretation I am thinking that the baby in the dream is me. She is part of me, either representing my inner child, or a new part of myself that is largely undiscovered, and is still in the early new stages of development. That's a general interpretation, though. Before this morning I have not been able to quite get a handle on what that means. How do I apply that general theme to life? What does this mean? Until I figure this out self-growth will be stunted, and I doubt that I will stop having these dreams. What was it that I was missing?

There has been this heavy feeling that pulls me into a mood that is hard to define. I think it's loneliness, but it is so much heavier than any generic lonely feelings that I have had before. When it strikes in full it renders me anxious, desperate, and disconnected from others. I feel bitter from the years of rejection. I feel like I have no tools, and no way to fully remedy this situation. I don't know what it is, or where it comes from. it's just here, and I have to deal with it. I feel 'other'. No other way to really explain it. It's as if the rest of the world is on a plane of mutual existence, and I'm on another, disconnected, and alone. I feel alone, and damaged. I really believe that no one really likes me much, and that I'm not really all that good of a person. I want to turn to someone to talk to, but I have no one that understands. Usually during these times I will try to start a conversation with a friend via text, and that won't go much of anywhere, which only serves to reinforce this heavy feeling of people not really liking me, and isolation. The isolation is so big.

 One thing is for certain, these feelings are much too heavy to keep carrying around with me. Sometimes it almost drives me to suicide, because I firmly believe that I will never be free of this feeling long term. I will always be the person that everyone likes from a distance, but never up close. Up close is awkward. It means accepting my quirks. It means knowing that I speak what I think, and understanding that I think in a very different way than others. It means.... well, I don't know.... It's been over a decade since I had best friends to call, and idle chat over dinner. I don't know what it is about me that is off-putting, and it's likely that if I did I would be unable to fix it, anyway How do you fix your personality? I mean, my character is good. I am honest, and a loyal friend, ect... It's my essence that bothers people.

So, what does this have to do with the baby dreams?

I know you might be thinking that I am way off track here, and rambling without an end in sight, but I promise that there is a reason I have rambled on this far.

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Saga of Santa Claus- book review

When I was a child I could often be found with my nose in a book. As the weather turned cold, and the leaves gently fell to the ground I would find delight in spending the long, dark, evening hours snuggled up with a book, and a cup of hot chocolate. I'd go on adventures, and fall in love with characters. Every story taught me something new about myself that I never knew before, as well as new ways in which to perceive the world.

My favorite books were the kind that had chapters. Every night my mother would read one, or two chapters with me before bed. It was a great way to end the day, and nothing is better than sharing your favorite book with a loved one.

This holiday season is a great time to start a new reading tradition with your child. Bring back some of the magic this holiday season by sharing an adventurous, tale full of wonder, and enchantment with The Saga of Santa Claus 

In the Saga of Santa Claus King Valdor begins as a selfish, mean king who cares nothing for others. He is visited by the god Odin, and his wife Frigga. That is when Valdor's life changes forever.  He begins on a very long journey where Valdor discovers if he is ever truly going to be able to learn to care for anyone else besides himself. With Odin watching over Valdor must pass the test, or he will lose his kingdom, and more.

This book was such a fun read. It is so well written that, and full of surprises that it kept me genuinely interested until the end. I highly recommend it to anyone with a child around the ages 8-13. I personally found it to be interesting enough that I think that older teens might enjoy it, as well. It's a perfect Christmas read.

About the Author:

Born in South Korea, M.D. Couturier was raised in Michigan. Couturier, who is legally blind, once spent a month as an aid worker in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he unloaded supplies for an American dentist who was setting up a clinic there. When he’s not writing, Couturier enjoys listening to history books and watching movies.

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.

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

Monday, August 31, 2015

Interview with Steve Andrews Founder of @PlatinumBay

One of the biggest obstacles autistic adults face is acquiring gainful employment. It is hard to find an accurate statistic, but from the research that I have done the numbers of autistic adults that are employed can fall as low as 50%. None went over 55%. That percentage is grim, but they look even more bleak when compared to the stats of other disabled adults. While the numbers may have been presented differently on various sites the one thing that I found they all had in common were that they all stated that autistic adults had the highest unemployment rate of any of the other disabilities.

While those facts seem depressing, there is a company that is wanting to change them around by employing autistic adults.  When I heard of the good work Platinum Bay was doing I found it intriguing. I wanted to know more about the company, and how it all came to be, so I interviewed the founder, and executive director Steve Andrews.

Me: What is Platinum Bay? What services do you provide?

Steve: Platinum Bay is a first-of-its-kind software company designed from the ground up to hire Autistic people and creates safe and empowering career opportunities to maximize their extraordinary talents and abilities. Our services include custom business software development and technical leadership for mid-sized and enterprise companies. We reduce long-term code cost so companies can spend less time maintaining and more time innovating.

 Platinum Bay also has a first-of-its-kind hybrid business model: a limited profit / for-purpose corporation designed for maximum impact. We are incorporated as a California Social Purpose Corporation, which combines for-profit operations with public, transparent accountability. We have also formally adopted a non-profit financial model, and all net profit is reinvested into the company in pursuit of our mission, and we will be creating a corporate grant writing foundation to help fill in the gaps in the Autism ecosystem.

Me:  What role do you play within the company?

Steve: I am the Founder and Executive Director.

Me: What jobs have you had prior to starting Platinum Bay?

Steve: I have been a self-taught software engineer for sixteen years, and I’ve worked at a number of companies including Microsoft. I was also a Microsoft MVP award recipient for four years prior to joining Microsoft. Before re-discovering computers, I had a wide range of jobs: dishwasher, tow truck driver, auto mechanic, package courier, waiter, short order cook, retail clerk, janitor, security, construction, delivery driver, petroleum distribution engineer (gas station attendant)…

Me:  I see that you have been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. How old were you, and how did that shape, or change your path in in life?

Friday, August 21, 2015

Finding My Edge

I often view the beginning of the school year as almost what new year's day is to most people. It is full of new things, and new adventures. Schedules change, and the routine is redefined every year as everyone's needs change.This is usually the time I stop to think about my own schedules, and what to do to make the school year meaningful to me. I clear out the old, and make way for new plans, and new goals.

This year I am still homeschooling Beans, and CJ is doing online school. Bubby is going to regular school. Beans is still going to need constant supervision, and one on one help through out the entire say. I still have been unable to find any respite for him, so unfortunately it is up to our family to figure it all out. That means that for most of the day Bean's care is all on me. I have to figure out how to help CJ (who is dyslexic) with her work, answer phones for my husband's business. as well as do paperwork, and balance all of that with housework, and everything else running a household requires.

The thing is, I have outgrown that.

Not in the way I that I want to stop doing it all, or that I don't find joy in it anymore. I do. However, there is a part of me that wants more. I am ready for something else. My expressive side has grown a bit stagnant, and my mind is restless with ideas far away from my everyday life. I feel like I need something all my own in addition to the things that already occupy my day.

I am still not sure exactly what. I am still not sure exactly when I will find time for a new venture, but my goal is to make it happen within the next year.  I'd like to start writing in some way as a career, instead of just a blogger. A book maybe? I don't know yet. I am just beginning to explore my options. I am ready to take on something new, and explore new terrain.

I'm always trying to challenge myself. Sometimes I fail, but I always am ready to try again later. I find the edge, and push it just a tiny bit. That's what I am doing now. Finding that edge, and finding what feels right as I move forward.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Defining Friendship

I don't know a lot of about social etiquette. I don't have a buzzing social life, and I don't do girl's night out. I forget to do simple things like say hello, or goodbye to people. I am moderately faceblind, so I will walk right past people I've known for years in a public place leaving to look like a space case at best, and a snob at worst.

I don't know a lot about having a lot of friends, but I know a lot about being a good friend, and what constitutes a quality friendship.

It has taken me many years to define what a good friend is, and I am still learning. One big trap that I get caught in is that I am very eager to open up my resources to almost anyone in need. I will spend hours talking to a friend in crisis, or spending the little money that I have on making a cheer up package for them. It's always been part of my personality to share what I have. In grade school this was rarely a good thing. Kids would ask to cut in line, for my food, for my money, or my seat and I'd almost always give it to them. I'd not hesitate. If they were asking they must need it more than me, and I'd always assume that they'd return the favor when I was in need. Obviously, that was not what happened, but I really didn't learn from it. Instead, the lesson I'd take to heart was that there must be something wrong with me as to why others didn't treat me with the same respect as I did them. Every time something happened where I was taken advantage of, or left out in some way it would chip away at my self-esteem a little bit more. I'd give more of myself away than before in hopes that it would somehow raise how worthy I was for friendship. I was setting myself up for failure. I was also letting other's behavior define my worth.

I still find myself doing this as an adult. It's been a hard habit to break. I don't necessarily think most people take advantage of me now in a purposeful way. Not in the way that they used to. I think it's far too often that people are more willing to take support than to give it.  When a crisis, or loss hits it is really uncomfortable for another person to be able to sit with you, and support you. Big emotions are hard to deal with, and it takes someone who has a well defined, strong character to tolerate maintaining a friendship during uncomfortable moments. What I mean by maintaining is actually playing an active role in the friendship. What I don't mean is staying

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Meltdown Recovery

I have made posts, and talked about meltdowns on my blog before. It's not a new topic for me, by any means, however it's not something that happens to me often. When it does happen it's such a heightened state of emotion that the details of how I feel, what triggered it, and how to recover fades with every hour after I am in a relatively calm state. As usual, I cannot speak for everyone on the spectrum, but I can tell you how I feel, and hope that in doing this that some of what I say may help someone else, especially parents of autistic kids who don't have the ability to explain things. I'm 36, and barely am able to have the insight to be able to advocate for what I need to recover from meltdowns.

This afternoon I had a meltdown. It was an epic one that had been building for quite some time. When it hit I was unable to identify it, and stop the torrent of emotions from flowing out. What triggered it was not one thing, and with me it almost never is. I had been operating above the level of my capacity for a couple weeks now. School enrollment, and appointments have devoured my days. So much paperwork, and talking to people. Social engagements, and all the while keeping up with regular household stuff, too had me teetering. I knew I was teetering, but there was not much I could do. I used every coping skills available to me, but it was not enough. On top of the demands a few different people in this small time frame had treated Bubby poorly. This happens often with him, but usually not in such a small window of time, and one in which I was recovering from so much. (He is not aware of the rejection, or what was said about him in two of these incidents.) Not only was I beyond sad for my big hearted son who does not deserve this, but I was/am feeling as if I failed him in some way. This was the last straw. This took my last spoon, and it was all downhill from there. I had a meltdown, passed out from exhaustion, and have been recovering for the rest of the night.

I once heard from someone on an ASD message board that said the difference between a meltdown, and a panic attack was that a panic attack = "OMG! I'm going to die!!!!" A meltdown = "Omg. I'm going to make you die!" While not all of us are physical I find it an apt description. I felt anxious when I made a status update on Facebook, and that quickly evolved to irrational anger when it was met with well meaning, but not helpful comments.Now, I am sure there are people that think that if I'm going to leave bitchy comments (or say them) then it's fair game for them to respond in the same manner. I suppose that is true. Other people can hold that opinion, but I don't feel the power is equal in that equation. I see it all the time with adults vs autistic kids. They just can't leave the kid alone to recover. Instead they keep picking, and arguing with the kid, further escalating things. When I am in a meltdown situation it's the worst, rawest, most desperate feeling in the world. I am out of control, and my world is spinning. Sometimes I might cry, but that isn't real often. As a matter of fact, not much emotion ever registers on my face, so there is little for the other people in my presence to clue into other than my behavior.

So, what do (usually) well intentioned people usually say when I am having a meltdown situation?

Friday, August 7, 2015

One Year Post #Hysterectomy Update

On July 29th it was one year to date since I had a hysterectomy. I thought that doing a little update post about how that year has been for me, and how I feel about it now would be good for women that may be considering having one, or possibly just had one.

Of course, this is just my experience. I don't intend to represent a standard of healing. I do, however, want to tell my story, and possibly offer some hope for others. If one was to look on the internet for hysterectomy stories a lot of what you'd come away with would be bleak. I don't know why. Positive stories aren't as easy to find as the negative ones.

I think the hardest part was the healing time. Since I am in such a busy household I couldn't really rest as well as I'd like to have. I talk about that some in a past post: Recovering From a Hysterectomy in an Autistic Household so I'm not going to repeat it all here in this post.

The first few months after the hysterectomy everything seemed to be doing okay. I was easing back into my routine, and all was pretty good. The only thing that was not was that I was still in pain. I spoke to my doctor about it, but no one quite knew why my bladder was hurting so much, but chalked it up to just a slow healer.

Then, in October my energy dropped, and depression started setting in. A different kind of depression than any other I've had. It was a deep to the bone heavy weight, immobilizing kind. I pushed through it. It came, and went.

By January my bladder was hurting worse than ever. I went to see a doctor, and long story short after several appointments with specialists I was diagnosed with interstitial cystitis.  I realized that a lot of the pain I was blaming on the endometriosis was really due to this bladder issue. Most of the time it is not all that bad, but sometimes the pain is comparable to active labor pain. I am in pain every day, but usually it is tolerable. Now, I can get the correct treatment that I realize that not all of the pain I was experiencing was due to the endo.

During the months of November through early January I had began to gain weight. Nothing I did seemed to help, and it was all gathering around my tummy. It was evident as my mood shifted, and my weight changed that even though I had kept my ovaries they were not working properly. I had thought that I had made the worst mistake ever. I felt like I was doomed to this life of weight gain, and depression.

Thankfully, by February

Monday, July 13, 2015

Revealing My Scars

I had a strange dream the other night. It was the kind where it follows me with odd da ja vue feelings for days. It begs to be taken apart, and analyzed. Some dreams are really just wisps of all that we accumulate during the day being let out in our subconscious at night while we sleep like an air release valve. They don't mean much at all. Then there are the kind that are a little more serious than that. When you recall bits, and pieces of these dreams there's emotion attached. It's not just the run of the mill dump dream. These types of dreams have a message to decipher, and usually a solution to a hidden issue you might have been avoiding.

In this particular dream I had found out from a doctor that I had cancer. I eventually ended up speaking to a doctor, and a team of scientists about my options for treatment. The doctor told me that I had three options. I could:

1. Choose to try to manage it with diet, and exercise, and hope it heals itself. The doctor said that this was not a recommended choice, because the cancer was very toxic, and would likely attach itself to other organs infecting other parts of my body with sickness.

2. I could choose to replace that part of my body with healthy skin. The new skin would heal the cancer, and the chances of full recovery were very optimal. The only drawback was that the skin had to come from my face. A fairly large portion of my face. The procedure was only offered in another country, so I would have to go there to get it. She explained to me that this was the best option with little chance for error.

3. I could choose chemotherapy, but the doctor noted that this option would be overkill. She didn't recommend it, because the chemo kills the healthy cells with the bad ones. I would endure pain, and sickness as well as possible permanent damage that would be irreversible.

I decided to go with the chemo. I said that would be the best option for me. It was the only one I could afford. The doctor again reminded me of her recommendations. She asked me why I could not do number two, since that was the best choice medically. I asked if the skin would scar, and she said it might. I broke down in tears explaining to her that I had a scaring disorder that makes my scars turn into bubbles, and look much worse than most people's scars. I also could never afford to go to another country. How could I choose number two when it would leave marks on my face that everyone will see?" I sobbed.

Monday, July 6, 2015

My Journey to Fitness #Autism #Parent #Autistic

"I bought a little red bikini today. Let's see if I have the courage to wear it."

That's what my status on Facebook read from 5 years ago. That is where I was in terms of confidence, and physical health. It is a far cry from where I am today. It was around this time that I embarked on my fitness journey. That is what this entry is going to be about. Where I was, where I've been, and what I have learned on the way. I have been thinking about doing this post for a few months now. I am not good at mapping out, and summarizing my thoughts before I write. That just isn't my writing style. So, I am going to do what I usually do, and just let the words flow out as I tell my story.

About five years ago is where my passion for fitness began. It started out as a little spark that was unfortunately ignited by self hatred. I've never been overweight, but had gained quite a bit of weight six years ago when I quit smoking, and my thyroid went out of whack. I didn't like my body. I had never liked my body, actually. If you follow my blog, or know me then you know how self image is a enormous battle I have struggled with for my whole life beginning in grade school when I was teased mercilessly. I began my fitness journey from a dark place that was misguided. I wanted to change how I looked, so I wanted to exercise due to hating my body. I found my motivation in shame, instead of self love. I dieted, and felt deprived. I felt that exercise, and restricting my diet was a punishment for not doing better, and not being better. Maybe I didn't think of it in those words at the time, but that is what is was. It would be awhile before I gained motivation from a better place, and stopped wallowing in self-loathing.

When I first started exercising I didn't know much about fitness. I knew basics. I did a lot of cardio, because I assumed it would help me lose weight. I cut my calories back too much, and I ate all the wrong foods. I did lose weight. Cutting calories will typically result in weight loss, but there is so much more to physical health than just the number we see when we step on the scale. More on that later, though.

I started looking up information. There was so much out there! One expert said this, and another article said that. I didn't know where to turn, or who to listen to. In the meantime I found lots of youtube videos with free exercise routines. I started out with a few exercises here, and there. I didn't really know how often, or how to do a good routine to get the most out of my workouts. None of the videos, or channels I found were very educational in this way.

That all changed a couple of years ago when I found Fitness Blender. Combined with the knowledge I had gleaned on my own through tons of research, and their very easy to use site I was able to begin getting into shape the healthy way.

This entry is not just about sharing another info dump to add to everyone's growing collection of how to lose weight, or a new trendy exercise routine, but about how I personally went from where I was to where I am now. I no longer stand on the edge of anorexic thinking, fearing other's judgments about who I am as I try to make peace with my physical body. Treating the mind, and the body as if I can get one super healthy while the other is severely lacking is all that was wrong with my mindset, and I suspect so many of others, as well. The shame, and guilt of extra weight, eating, and not knowing how to do better, but sure as hell feeling low for not being able to be better  was a terrible place to start at, and was never going to produce the happiness that I longed for. It seemed that most of the places I looked for info, and support fostered that sense of food shame, and unhealthy physical routines.

You're not going to find pictures of me, or anyone else posing in a bikini for before, and after pics in this post.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Why #Positive #Parenting?

When I created the event #PositiveParentingDay I wasn't sure what my blogging contribution would be. I thought about it for all week, and yet here I am at almost midnight with no real solid direction to go in.

At first I thought I could site studies that might prove positive parenting is effective, but I felt that might be boring to read, and in a way talking over most parents. I don't know that a lot of us know when a new study is really true, or if it's just science persuaded to support a pre-established ideal. I find most of the people that argue for aversive punishments to discipline children find comfort in doing what they know, and distrustful of new concepts that don't match what they know. So, the idea of quoting experts, and doctors wasn't appealing to me.

Then, I thought that maybe I might find some good quality sites to share about positive parenting. I thought that maybe that might help people who are unfamiliar with positive parenting know what it is, and what it isn't. I couldn't think of a way to make this entertaining, and not just a big info dump. The whole purpose of #PositiveParentingDay is to introduce parents to a different style of parenting that they may not know about, but I didn't want to do this by simply sharing links.

In the end, I have decided to just simply write about what positive parenting means to me, and why I choose to use it with my kids.

Positive parenting isn't a fancy method that I read about somewhere, or heard about on an afternoon talk show. It isn't the way I was raised, and it isn't the same exact thing other parents who use positive parenting. To me positive parenting describes where I am at as a parent of 3 very different kids. The way I have arrived where I am on this journey going on 17 years now is unique,

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Celebrate #PositiveParentingDay June 1st

Hello. I would like to invite you to celebrate positive parenting with me on Monday June 1st. To sign up please see the event listing HERE, as well as see the bottom of this page for further instructions.

What is positive parenting?

Positive parenting is not really a clearly defined technique that has certain rules to follow. It can mean different things to different people, as well as involve many different types of ideas, and values from all kinds of styles. Other styles that are more specific that use positive parenting techniques are gentle parenting and attachment parenting. I'm sure there are many others that I don't know about, but those are two examples that come to mind that I know about.

Positive parenting involves a parent, and child relationship that is open, caring, and respectful. It is usually child centered in the way it is applied. A parent using positive parenting skills will approach every situation with their child with empathy looking to to help their child grow, and learn rather than to obey, and coerce.

Positive parenting does not equal permissive parenting. It doesn't mean that parents just sit back, and let their child do what they want all the time. Instead, what positive parenting does is explore the many, many other ways to problem solve with your child that are in between harsh, aversive punishments, and neglecting to set any boundaries, or interact with your child at all.

What are some examples of Positive parenting?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Imperfectly Perfect

Yesterday was Mother's Day. Holidays always make me anxious. I tend to have ideas about how I think things will go, and they never go that way in real life. I am not good with changes in routine that are not at least somewhat predictable by having some kind of plan.

So, when a day like Mother's Day rolls around I have a plan about how I think things should go. I feel pressured, and emotional to begin with, and it doesn't take much to derail my mood, which is exactly how Mother's Day started for me yesterday.

At first, I felt bad that I felt bad. I felt like I was being ungrateful, and negative. So, I felt double awful, and this did nothing to make my mood better. Then, I decided to that maybe it was okay for me to feel whatever it is that I feel. I remembered that I had a right to feel my own feelings, and accept them as valid. As I stopped pushing against this mood it began easing up, and my day did indeed turn around to being what I would consider a pretty good day! It was only when I stopped judging my mood, and stopped trying to tell myself what feelings I should feel that things began turning around to being more positive.

That reminded me of something that happened earlier last week. Beans is very much into getting into, and taking all of my nic-nacs, and other decorations. I don't have many anymore for him to get to. The only ones left in the living room were in a closed shelf that he never bothered until last week. They were all the ones that were irreplaceable either by emotional attachment, or because they were collectible. He would wait for me to be in the bathroom, or have my back turned to climb up to the shelf, and get them out. On one occasion last week he broke one. It was a candle holder that my deceased grandmother had bought me when my daughter died. Obviously, there was no replacing this object. I wasn't heartbroken about it, really. I don't get attached to objects, but I was sad that it had been broken.

When my husband arrived home from work, and saw it sitting there in pieces he went straight to gluing it back together. I didn't think it could be repaired. It was too damaged, I said.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Missing a Place In Time That Never Was

I sit in a quiet room listening to the faint clock tick by the seconds, as I try to determine what it is that I'd like to do. My mind is full of images that are too far away, and abstract to quite differentiate. My body urges to move, yet to where, or to do what I don't know.

Oh, this mood is here again.

It's a familiar state of mind. One that has hints of melancholy, mixed in a with a dash of loneliness, and maybe even boredom. I find it a confusing feeling. Da ja vue like, and without context I am without direction. It's a little bit uncomfortable, but not jarring.

This feeling, this mood, it reminds me of something. It feels like something is missing, and incomplete. It almost feels like hunger, but not quite. Hunger of the emotional variety, maybe. I can't put my finger on what I am lacking. What I am missing.

It's like my body, mind, and spirit is missing something I never had. It's a longing for a place in time I've never been, but needed to have been, I feel a faint pull to a home I've never had, filled with people I've never known, and this missing part of me is left dangling over a time that never was.

I don't know how to remedy the situation, because the feeling is so abstract. I attempt to fill the gap of neediness with what I can to pass the time. I think about chatting with others, but then my listless brain has nothing to really say. I want a connection, but feel as if one cannot be made where I am at mentally, so instead I spend my day on autopilot looking for something to distract me from this odd tugging of my heart. All of my OCD checking behaviors magnify as I check, and recheck the same things hoping to find some reprieve from this feeling.

I know that this mood will pass. Likely, it will be different tomorrow. I wish I knew what was missing. Why I miss a home I've never known, and people I've never met. How can I feel this low level of desperate need of something  have never had?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Finding Happiness

I have different writing styles, as well as differing reasons that I blog. I have always been a writer, and there is still something so magnetic, and alluring about an empty notepad of paper that I can't hardly resist filling it with words. Words of a poem, of my thoughts, of lyrics to something that makes sense to me in that moment. Just words flowing onto an outside object from inside my head is a desire that I can't ignore. It's my way of communicating to the world, and to myself. I process the world by writing, and have ever since I learned to spell.  No matter my special interest at any given time writing is how I am going to best explore it, and share it with the world, whether anyone is on the receiving end or not.

So, this is one of those posts where I talk to myself, and share my thoughts raw. They're about as mysterious to me as unknown to you. I finally have the confidence to not worry so much about whether or not anyone is going to read it, or if this post is going to be shared, or receive comments. It likely won't, but I don't write to please others. I write because I have to express myself, and this is how I do it. How others interpret this expression is up to them, and while I love to get feedback it is not necessary for me to get in order to enjoy the process of writing.

As I have written about recently (HERE) I have begun a new round of antidepressants after a particularly trying bout of depression. It was not your typical gray depression, but rather it was a life changing kind that required action. Not just action from an outside source, such as an antidepressant, but also action in changing my life, and the way I think to be able to sustain a more positive lifestyle conducive to me needs. I'm not going to repeat everything here that I have said in so many other posts, but to paraphrase; depression is often a signal from our subconscious that something in our lifestyle, and way of being is not congruent with our needs. This is not the whole of depression, but it is often at the root.

Almost immediately after beginning my new medication I could feel a difference. It's a med that I have been on before, and have found it to be really effective for me, even though it seems to not agree with a lot of other people. It was as if it were made just for me. Suddenly, I felt a surge of energy, and a renewed sense of purpose. There were so many things I wanted to do, and experience. It was like waking up from a long sleep where I could finally do the things I could only dream of before. Suddenly, my dreams could be a reality. Life became clear again, and not this long drawn out painful, confusing fog that I had to fight to just survive through each day.

Aspects of my personality began coming back that I hadn't seen in years. Things like

Monday, April 13, 2015

In My Head

Sometimes I catch myself in a daze, and realize that I have been standing, or sitting in the same position frozen, and staring off into nowhere. Seconds, or perhaps even as much as a couple of minutes have gone by, but that is unknown to me as I was somewhere else.

This has been the case for as long as I can remember. I am always thinking, and can easily disappear into my mind thinking about this or that. There are endless thoughts to ponder, and situations to think about for me. I can think, and think on my own for hours with little boredom. I don't need a lot of outside input to entertain me, and am perfectly happy pursuing my day on my own.

Though, I do like to be around people, sometimes.The times that I am in groups with others I am typically on the sidelines. I'm not much for a lot of back, and forth talk. I am an observer. I am always watching, and analyzing. I am an avid people watcher, and much of what I have figured out about the way people behave is by carefully studying them. Since social behavior is such a mystery to me anyway I tend to just kick back in most social situations, and take mental notes. After doing so for so many years I have a pretty good catalog of human behavior to draw from when figuring out people's character, and intentions. I have been around so many different types of people, and situations. Some would be considered unsavory by many, but then that is a part of the process of really understanding people for me.  One has to remove the personal judgement, and be able to ask why others do what they do. I don't distinguish other's behavior as right, or wrong. Instead I am more interested in what motivates them to do what they do. Why do they make the choices they do? Why do they feel the way they do?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

A World Away

It was a very long, busy day here at the IM house. Right after dinner CJ reminded me that there was an art walk about a block from where we live about to begin. I had forgotten about it, though I did really want to go. I love seeing art, and tasting wine. As exhausted as I was, I decided to gather up my remaining scraps of energy, and head down there to get me some wine, and culture, or somesuch.

These are the phases of social awkward denial that I go through each, and every time I set out to a social event.

Phase One: I am excited to go. I think it's gonna be fun. It's as if my brain creates bouts of temporary amnesia about all the past times I have gone to social events that didn't end well, which is about 98% of them. I don't remember how much I said I was not going to people again, or how much I feel like a freak when I am around groups of people.

Phase Two: Enter the crowd. It's busy, and everyone seems to be everywhere. It seems that I am either in other people's way, or they're in mine. The body language of who moves where is eluding me. I'm overwhelmed, but hanging in there.

Phase Three: The fun I thought I was going to have is slinking back into my imagination where it belongs, and reality is setting in. I realize that most people know others, and are all standing in groups chatting. I am not. I am off awkwardly standing on my own, or with my family. I know some people, but don't know how to jump into the chatting circles. The rules to how this occurs are a mystery to me. I try to smile, and look friendly, but I don't know if I should make eye contact, or how to begin a conversation. What to say, or how to say it is confusing. I can't work anything out quick enough. I hope others will initiate conversation with me, but they don't.

Phase Four: Now I am taking it personally. I feel left out, and

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Dreams of Hidden Rooms

As some of my longtime readers know, one of my more subtle special interests is dream interpretation. It's really not too far a jump from their to one of my bigger interests, psychology. I don't do the reading for omens type of, but more along the lines of deeper understanding of what my dreams represent about what I am feeling behind the scenes, so to speak.

Last night I had a dream that I lived in a house that was a mish mash of houses that I have lived in, and others I haven't.  I had to go up to the attic for some reason, and that is when I discovered that there were several homeless people living up there. I was shocked. There was only one small room, and some old dilapidated furniture.  It was sparsely furnished, and cold.  At one point, I decided to sit down, and try to talk to some of the people living there. I attempted to sit on a loveseat, but there were holes in it, and the springs were sticking out. One of the people told me it was due to a rat infestation, but that they had recently gone. I was still a little afraid to sit anywhere, because I was afraid that a rat would come out, and bite me. I began to get acquainted with some of the people living there. There were two ladies, a little boy, and a coupe older women. I was heartbroken about the little boy, but the others insisted that he was better there than at home. I wanted him to come with me, but he was not ready. In fact, none of them were ready. I kept coming, and going as I tried to decide how to handle the situation. It was one that most others wouldn't understand, and I knew I had to find my own way to deal with it. Most people wanted me to just toss them all out by force, but I knew I couldn't. I knew they'd all come out of there in their own time, and I would be able to gently persuade them to come down safely. I began visiting them, and getting to know all the people that lived there. I was able to get a couple of them talked down, and to dinner.

One time while I was up there as I was cleaning, and exploring I noticed some sort of passageway, or something. Somehow, I went from being in the attic to this hallway that seemed long, and mysterious. As I crept down a black, and white checkered hall I came upon a room, and went inside. It was what looked to be a living room lavishly decorated with furnishings from another time. Bucket type of leather seats, and shag carpet. A console TV glowed from a corner of this dim lit room. I felt suddenly like I was intruding on another time. Kind of like it was haunted, and I was an unwelcome guest.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Feeling Sunny Again #autism #depression

I thought that I might do a little update about how things are going since some of my recent posts about Beans' struggles ( HERE and HERE) things have improved, as well as other issues I've spoken about here, and on my FB page.

I am happy to report that with a med change Beans is doing very well. He is sleeping through the night, and not agitated all day like he was. It was a scary transition from okay to not okay, and back to okay again. I know that at times this is part of what living with autism is like. I wish that there was more support, and resources for when these times happen for us, and families like us, but I feel incredibly lucky to be back to a peaceful calm period.

I also am happy to tell you all that my recent trial of antidepressants has been wildly successful. I really regret waiting as long as I did to try it. I feel so much better, and am able to enjoy life again. It's like night, and day, and it's not even been a whole entire month since I started them. I think Spring coming around the corner is also helpful, but even on our recent gloomy snow days I have been in a good mood.

I don't think I mentioned it much on my page, but Bubby had also been struggling with a lot of tears, and oversensitivity the last few months.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Finding Purpose in Being Still

Sometimes there is this feeling that hits me between the eyes. It's one that is hard to describe. It's not quite jealousy, or depression, or well.... anything I can label easily. If you can't tell this is going  to be another one of those entries that kind of end up falling from my fingers as quickly as the thoughts pop into my head with little direction as I explore what it is that I am feeling. One of the ways I discover myself best is through freestyle writing.

This feeling surfaces when I see others doing things that I think are admirable. Things that contribute to the greater good of society, or at least seem to have a lasting effect on the world. It causes me to think about what I contribute to the world, and as I often do when thinking of myself I always feel like I come up short. I begin to question where I am in my life, and where I am headed.

Sometimes, I am perfectly content with taking care of my family, and tending to their needs. Other times I feel like I am shut off from the world, and stagnating. I question if being a stay at home mom, and caregiver is what I want. If it's what is best. If it is contributing to the world in a meaningful way.

These feelings come with a sense of disconnect from society. Not in a lonely type of way so much as a cut off, and isolated type of way. Like I am not part of anything bigger than my own little world.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Emetophobia- When You Fear Vomiting

Here at our house we are recovering from a particularly bad stomach virus. It's been circling around hitting every family member, and even coming back to visit me twice.I know that's not typically how viruses operate, but somehow this one seemed to, which was particularly horrifying for me. You see I have this fear of vomiting called.emetophobia.

So, what is emetophobia, and what is it like to live with it?

I can only speak for myself, and from what I have read, and learned from others that I know who also have it. Truth is, I have done only a small amount of research about it. I would never join a group online, or anything to that effect, because just reading about it all the time would raise my anxiety. I don't even like to think about throwing up. Just being reminded of it is a trigger for me to start to become anxious, and worried.

There is a lot of names for the act of vomiting. All of them raise my anxiety, except for the term 'throw up'.I can handle calling it vomit, but I don't like it. I know that doesn't make much sense, but I form strong associations with words, so it does to me. I will be referring to the physical act of getting sick as throwing up through this entry. I apologize if you have emetophobia, and that term upsets you.

From what I gather there are a lot of different types of emetophobias. A person might have an intense fear of throwing up, or someone seeing them throw up. They might also, or only fear seeing others throw up. Like any other panic type disorder there are also different levels of severity. I consider mine at this time to be mild to moderate. This phobia can be so severe that a person won't leave their house for fear of contracting a virus that might make them sick, or due to feeling like being away from home might make them too vulnerable to getting sick in public.

Though there are different levels of severity with emetophobia one thing that I know is that it doesn't include just disliking getting sick. No one likes to throw up. Some mind it more than others, but most everyone avoids it if at all possible. Emetophobia is about much more than that. It is an intense fear that that manifests itself in a person's life in such a way that it limits them from their daily activities. It must limit your ability to function in some way whether that be attending social events, employment, or completing everyday tasks.

How might that look to someone who has emetophobia?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Miss Despondent Gets a New Attitude

When I penned the last entry I noticed something that I definitely would not have if I had not been blogging. I was talking about how depression had shaped my current thinking, and whatnot, and I relayed it to a past post about depression, Kinda hard for regular readers to recall what recent entry has not been about depression, right? Anyway, I went to link it up, and noticed something as I was copying the link location. That entry was from a couple months ago. Then, I decided to look at the list of all of my blog entries, and realized that the first one that I begin to discuss this current bout of depression was in October. October?! I did a quick count on my fingers. That was four months ago! Has it been that long? Surely I have not been in this state for four months. I couldn't have been. Wouldn't I have known?

I had no way around the facts that were laying out there in black, and white. I have been slipping into a very serious depression, and I was not fully aware of it.

I thought, how could this be? My only answers were that it was comparable to a frog in a pot of water that is slowly heated until he's done. I didn't notice it, because it was a gradual decline into discomfort. Every now, and then the water might cool off, and then I'd notice it when the temperature sharply rose again, but for the most part it was a game of complacency. I would know I was down, but I got so used to feeling that way that it became my new norm, so when the depression pulled me even deeper the slight change was only a tinge of noticeable difference in mood.

At first I thought that I really shouldn't write yet another blog entry about depression. Won't my readers get tired of reading about my woes? Maybe. I don't really know. What I do know is that I write what I feel, and right now my truth is this horrid black cloud hanging over my head. I'd never bring it up in real time conversation, and you'd never know I was so far down if you were talking to me. The thing is, on my bad days no one talks to me, because I make sure they don't. I cancel appointments, and don't answer the phone. I sleep a lot, and watch tv. (Two things I don't do much of.)  It's not like it's something I really want to bring up in everyday conversation.

If this were one of my bad days I wouldn't be writing this entry at all. I'd not have the thought process to do so, nor would I feel that I had anything of value to share with anyone anyway. I simply wouldn't bother. If I did it would be full of dark humor, and swear words. You might think if someone is depressed they lose their humor. That's when some of us get ours really warmed up. The more down I get the more twisted, and sailor-ish my thoughts get. Think Lewis Black, or Anthony Jesselnick. Not only are my thoughts crude, and dark, but that little part of my brain that says "No. Don't say that." isn't there. It goes away leaving me no filter, at all. I simply don't care enough to care. I don't even consider if I sound offensive to anyone. That would require too much thinking, and anxiety. Did I mention my anxiety goes almost all the way away when I am feeling really down? Yes. I no longer care about my weight, or if I might be late, or if I'm upsetting people. I really have zero f*cks to give about pretty much anything related to myself.

It's not that I feel rock bottom low all the time anymore. I have days where it isn't so bad. Most days are a big mixed bag, though. Mornings have been by far the worst. This is new to me. I have had other depressions before, and all of them caused my mood to dip in the evenings. All my energy was spent by then, and I would fall into sadness. This time, however, my mood fares much, much worse earlier in the day rather than later. Most days I am hit with a wall of sadness, and despair as soon as I open my eyes. Literally, the first moment of consciousness is one that reminds me I am still here, and I am still feeling the same. It's almost as if I'm disappointed that I even woke up most days. By late afternoon my mood has usually improved to a very solid coping stage. I am able to get moving, and get stuff done.

Except I don't get it all done.

Monday, January 26, 2015

If You Had Three Wishes

The season of winter is turning the corner into it's finishing stages where I live, and I can tell you it is none too soon for this lady who suffers from seasonal depression. The days are getting a bit longer, and the sun is out in contrast to a few weeks ago when it was dark gray skies for days on end.

As I talked about in a recent entry, sometimes depression can be a useful signal that lets us know when we need to do something different. It can serve as a warning signal to us that things are not working, and our needs are not getting met. As much as I hate to admit it, I am still about as depressed as I was when I wrote that entry almost 4 months ago. That is astounding to me. If I didn't have a blog that detailed this I would not believe it. It has not seemed like 4 months. I think that is kinda how we get caught in a lot of patterns, though. We kinda get used to it, and for me this down feeling had kinda become my new norm. So, I got used to feeling blue, and sometimes the blue feeling delved down into despair. Other times, it zoomed up to good days. Which good days happen with depression. That's what makes it sometimes so hard to detect, because we might have a day, or even 3 of great days. Days that feel like we used to when we don't feel down. Days that we feel full of life, and energy, and those days are the ones where we doubt the depression existed at all. We think that maybe those days are the real days, and the others are a false experience, or at the least days where our weak will won. They kinda feel like maybe if I extended more effort, then every day could be a good day, and then the dark cloud returns, and I am not sure of anything.

Today is a good day so far, Yesterday was not. Yesterday I got to thinking of the old entry I wrote, and decided to really focus on my life, and what I would change if I could. I am sure that the dreary state of the weather has been a major culprit in my down days, but I also feel that there are things that I could change in my life that might make things better. So I posed the following question to myself:

If I had 3 wishes to apply to my life right now to change it for the better what would they be?

At first I thought this would be easy. Any wish. It doesn't have to be logical, or practical, or make sense. Just pick 3 things that would make my life better. It wasn't easy. I thought, and I thought. Finally, this morning I came up with 3. Here they are:

1. To have supportive family nearby. This one that I could have probably cited as a huge contributor to my depression. There is nothing worse than being disowned by your parents, and then the rest of the family pretty much following suit, because it's just less awkward to avoid you rather than deal with the unsaid conflict.(My mother refuses to talk to anyone that still talks to me.) There isn't a day that goes by that I don't have at least one panicky thought about my husband dying, because if he does I know for a fact that I am on my own. My family wants nothing to do with me, and wouldn't even come to my side if there was a genuine emergency. His family is not much better.

The more I thought about the wishes I realized that all 3 would be pretty much covered if we had family that could go to doctor appointments with me, and help run errands. If someone else stepped in to take my oldest two kids to fun things like museums, and out to lunch. If they could watch my kids, so I could have a moment to breathe, or go to dinner. To have people to turn to when you need help, or to talk that would understand autism.

2. More Money. Who doesn't wish for more money? If I had more some of my worries would go away, and I could probably buy the help I need where family can't be there. Of course, one doesn't just get money. I don't know how I'd obtain this extra cash, but I'm supposed to think of 3 wishes no matter how out in left field they may be.

3. Program for Beans. And, finally.... the last wish. I would love a program for Beans to go to that centered around the values that I hold, and conducted by people that I trust to treat him well. In other words, a fun, person centered approach that was NOT about compliance, but about growing at his pace on days he felt able to attend. No pressure. Just lots of positive activities. That would be awesome.

So, that is what I'd wish for if I had the power to obtain anything in my wildest dreams. I think it is a good starting place for me to think about what is missing in my life, and fix what I can, and deal with what I can't. I'm not sure what I can come up with, but I am sure that there are solutions if I keep looking. That is one thing that I am still confident about. there are solutions to every problem if we look hard enough, and are willing to explore alternative ways of thinking, and doing things.

If you had 3 wishes what would they be?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Being a Night Person in a Morning Person Society

As long as I can remember there has always been a great deal of emphasis on being a being an early riser. In Western culture it's considered a high virtue to be busy early in the morning. We even have so many sayings that express this.

The early bird catches the worm.
Up and at 'em.
First thing in the morning.
Top of the morning.
Rise and shine..

There's many more, but those are the ones that come to mind at the moment.

It's considered an act of productivity, and enthusiasm to be up early getting a jump start on one's day. So, what if you're not a morning person? Does that mean you're lazy, and unproductive? Do you still get things done, or are you missing out as the daylight burns away while you snooze? Is there such a thing as a morning person?

Many of those questions aren't so easy to answer. Many of them a lot of you may have never even thought about fully. I think it's just a given that school, and work starts at a certain time, and we have to participate in those things, so we do.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Part Two- Autism in Dire Straits

After hitting publish on my last post I mentally huddled down expecting the worst. I just knew I'd get a lot of crap for what I said, and my anxious, always catastrophisizing brain already jumped to the worst conclusion as if it had already happened. I don't even quite know what would make me post an entry that I was so sure was going to get back vitriol from the community I wrote it about, and to. I guess it is my autistic honest way of thinking. I feel like I post about when things are good, and bad. I post about what I did wrong, and what I did right, and what I am trying now. It's important to me that others get something from reading my blog. It's important to me that my experiences serve others in either lessons of what to do, not to do, or as a place to feel not alone. None of this is to vent.

What happened was not what I expected at all.

Likes were lost on my FB blog page. That is true. Some of my blogging group friends that always share my blog did not. Their lack of participation did not escape my attention. However, likes were gained. Comments were left, and discussions were had. Maybe, I could have had more if I'd left the comments open on the other post, but for the first time ever I didn't feel like I could necessarily handle all of what might be left there, so I took that option away for that post. Every comment that I have received has been positive, and supportive from everywhere else, though. For that I am more grateful than you know. I couldn't hardly believe all the comments of "me too!" that I read.

Which leads me to my first order of business for this entry.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Autism in Dire Straits

Getting around to writing my Happy New Year! post on January 5th seems to be pretty fitting for my life right now! Ha. I didn't have time, or an idea of what to write, and never a quiet moment to attempt it, anyway. I have pretty much given up on the notion of writing a traditional post for the new year.

But, here I am 5 days late giving it a go.

I feel like I have covered a lot of personal type goals, and changes I'd like to make with the last few entries. I talked about things I'm too old to keep dealing with, and how I'm not necessarily paying attention to every social media post that comes my way.

Right now I am feeling like my family is in crisis, and there isn't any personal goal that I can wish to attain that will fix that. I have put off writing this entry for awhile now. I hinted a bit about how Beans is struggling in my last entry, but I did not give any details. I never know how much I should talk about publicly. How much should I speak about his life, or my life, or my other kid's lives? Violating other people's right to privacy is always at the forefront of my mind when I blog. My own privacy, and dignity is also a concern. Sometimes, when I read other blogs I cringe at the private moments people share that as someone who was raised before the internet knows back in the day would never have been shared with a wide audience.

On the same token I am not going to sit here, and blog about how awesome autism is without sharing the moments where it is not. I am not all about autism equals suffering crap. I am also not all about glossing over real struggles.I have to speak about the truth, or else why even bother writing in the first place?

The truth is that sometimes with autism life can be kinda hard. I know that just from my own brain. However, Beans autism is not quite the same as mine. He has so many other mitigating circumstances that sometimes can make it hard for him to cope at times. I always hesitate to try to explain his other issues such as cognitive delays, because it is usually met with anger about how autism doesn't mean intellectually disabled. I agree it doesn't for most, but can for some. When Beans was diagnosed at 2 I was told that his cognitive delays were more of a disability than his autism by our developmental pediatrician. She also said that by 10 I need to be considering a residential facility for him. I was downright offended. Shocked, and offended. Still. that stuck with me for years. She didn't say that about Bubby when he was diagnosed. She didn't tell anyone else I know that about their kids.

Keeping him safe here lately has been a full time job. So has keeping everyone else in the house safe from him. I hear the the doctors, and their warnings,