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 28, 2015

My Top 5 #Healthy Snacks @nuts

One of the hardest things about maintaining a healthy diet is knowing what is healthy, and what isn't. A lot of times there is so much misinformation out there as to what constitutes a healthy diet that most people aren't sure what to believe. On top of all of that we can end up feeling overwhelmed with too many products, and recipes with not enough time to sort through it all, much less prepare healthy foods to eat.

When I heard that is looking to spread the word about healthy post-workout snacks I was happy to help. What kinds of snacks are best to eat is actually a question that I get asked fairly often. I once heard one of my daughter's friends ask her how I eat so much, and stay so skinny. Well, this is the answer. I keep busy, and exercise everyday.  I eat healthily, and just as importantly often. I typically eat 3 snacks a day. It is very important to eat a balanced snack after a workout. Making sure to replace the calories I just used while exercising with the best fuel to help me keep on track for a busy day is a big part of staying slim, and healthy for me.

Here are my top 5 favorite snacks to keep energy up, and hunger pangs down.

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.