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