Autism Acceptance Day 2017

Helping people with disabilities has always been a passion of mine. I’ve worked with children with various disabilities, but the ones with autism always stole a piece of my heart. I felt as if I saw a little bit of me inside them. Little did I know the reason I felt so connected.

 

I have autism.

 

I’ve been hospitalized 11 times in the last six years for mental health reasons. Depression and anxiety was always my diagnosis until my hospitalization in my freshman year- and only year- in college.

 

The psychiatrist said that he noticed some signs of Asperger’s Syndrome and suggested I got tested. Over winter break, I went to a testing psychologist who had my parents and I fill out questionnaire. I also had IQ tests done.

 

When I went to get the results, the psychologist said that I definitely was on the autism spectrum.

 

My parents said that the had wondered if I was on the spectrum for a while. They noted poor eye contact, difficulty with social cues and taking things too literally. After the questionnaire, it was revealed that I had many other symptoms.

 

I never suspected that I had autism. All of the people I had worked with or had seen on television were a lot different than me. I’m not nonverbal. I don’t wander away from my family. I am able to communicate.

 

However, I do have autism. There is no one way everybody expresses their symptoms. I have trouble with sarcasm, but another autistic person might be able to laugh along. I wring my hands and rock side to side when I am stressed, but someone else might flap their hands. Everybody in the world is different, and that is the same with autism.
As it is Autism Acceptance Day (April 2, 2017), it is important to know that there is no one face for autism. Everybody on the spectrum deserves to be accepted, no matter their ability. We might be easily spotted, or we might look like just another person in the world. In fact, that is what we are. Just another person in the world. No matter our ability, we are human, just like you.

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Colors of the Sky

I might fall down

Just might get hurt

But I will not

Let this fire burn

Me to a crisp

Have nothing left

Than rotten bones

That broke while I slept

I reach up

To grab something new

All I can grasp

Is what make the sky blue

I turn the sky black

Covered with depression

And ash

No more sunsets

Nothing to view

It matches my weary eyes

Exactly to the hue

 

I will not surrender

I’ll ke the sun rise

I  will not back down

Until I’m ruler of the sky

My eyes will gain color

My life will grow strong

My bones will be built

I’ll learn right from wrong

My burns will be covered

With a new patch of skin

I will not let this happen

Ever again

World Mental Health Day 2016

Yesterday was World Mental Health Day, I wish I had written about it yesterday, but  haven’t been in the best physical health lately.

 

World Mental Health Day is a day of celebration. We celebrate who we are, no matter our differences. Some of us have depression. Others, anxiety. I happen to deal with Bipolar or Schizoaffective (my doctor is not sure). There are4 many other disorders that people live with. The thing is, we don’t need to just live with it. We need to thrive with it.

 

Mental illness can hold one down. It is so easy to give into the black of depression, the red and blue of bipolar, and a spectrum of colors that I imagine would be schizophrenia. We let it hold us back. Sometimes we aren’t holding it back. It rushes over us and no dam can hold it back

 

Being mentally ill is never somebody’s choice. Who in the world would choose to struggle so deeply? I can’t think of anyone, and I’m willing to b et you can’t either.

 

If I could go back to the day I first decided to give into the bullies, I would do it in a heartbeat. Or, maybe I wouldn’t. Mental illness has made me stronger. By breaking me down, I’ve been able to find my pieces. This time, I am trying to build myself on a stronger foundation. I’m going to put the pieces together in a different pattern so I will not be broken as easily. You can do this as well.

 

Speaking about mental illness is the first step to recovery. Talk to your family, your friends, your doctor, and anybody else you want to share your struggles with. Share your story. You never know who you could inspire to get help. Get help yourself. There is nothing wrong with taking medicine or getting therapy. It’s the strong thing to do.

 

I’m going to keep caring for myself, and I hope you will as well. It might only be World Mental Health Day one day a year, but every day is a day to take care of your mental well-being. Take care of yourself each and every day of the year.
I can do it, and so can you.

I Thought It Was OCD

If I asked 100 people what they thought of when they heard the word Asperger’s, at least 50 would use the word obsessions in their descriptions. They’d say our obsessions are weird or in a nicer word, unique.

 

I know I have obsessions like they are thinking of. Legos, Deadpool, Comic books, they have all been on the train of my obsessions, running through my head and driving out. I get stuck on these topics and can’t think of anything else.

 

Well, that’s not exactly true. I can think of other things. They aren’t always very pleasant things.

 

My obsessions can be downright scary. I worry that I am going to do bad things to people. For example, I’ve pictured myself pushing my sister down the stairs. I would never do it, but it plagues my head a lot. I also worry that the house is going to catch on fire, or someone is going to break in. I worry that I am going to get an illness. Worry, worry, worry is 99% of my brain.

 

These obsessions don’t come alone. Oh, no, they come with compulsions. I won’t step on cracks. If I hit one arm, I have to hit the other one, or it feels fuzzy. Every time I touch the trashcan, I have to wash my hands or I won’t be able to focus on anything else. I sometimes do it several times, going back and forth between the trashcan and the sink. There is much much more.

 

When I was in my first hospital, I told my therapist about these struggles. She then asked me to tell her how many tiles there were on the ceiling. I do count sometimes, but this was not one of the moments. I told her that  didn’t know, and from then on, she dismissed my problems. She wouldn’t believe me, which hurt me. I knew I struggled with it, and she wouldn’t listen.

 

Years have gone by, and I never received any treatment until I got to my current psychiatrist. He tried an antidepressant  that was supposed to help with obsessive compulsive disorder. All it did was send me into a severe manic episode.

 

After a while, I got diagnosed with Asperger’s. I’ve been told that Asperger’s has symptoms that fit in with other disorders. It makes my attention span very small, sort of like attention deficit disorder. It also can include obsessive compulsive tendencies. It seems that  I’ve gotten all the parts of Asperger’s.
I’m glad I know now, because now people know I am not exaggerating. People are trying to help me now, and I am learning how to help myself. I might not have OCD, but it is part of my disorder. It is hard to deal with, but I’m working on it and trying to find ways to help battle my struggles. It’s annoying to have a disorder that contains so many other symptoms, and to tell you the truth, I in no way enjoy it. I hope that I can keep receiving help, and I will learn how to help myself.

Being There

My therapist often asks me what I need from others when I am in a rough patch. It’s a harder question to answer than one would think.

 

I think about the question often. What do I need? What do I need when I a having a panic attack? What about an emotional overload? How about when I am suicidal?

 

I search and I search for that answer. I can never seem to think of anything besides one little need.

 

I need someone to be there for me.

 

They don’t need to be trying to solve my problems They don’t need to talk at all. All I need is someone to sit beside me, and maybe give me a hug.

 

Physical affection helps me a lot. A touch of a hand, a rub on the back, or even a simple arm around my shoulder and help me calm down. I crave the pressure of touch, which is probably part of my Asperger’s.

 

Being there with me mentally is just as important as being with me physically. Breathing with me or being beside me can be more than enough.

 

Why is “being there” enough for me? It makes me feel loved, like someone actually wants me to feel better. I feel less alone. I know that somebody cares about me, even when I don’t care about myself. I need validation of my pain. I need a safe space.

 

More than anything, I need to know that I am more than the nothing I feel I am.

 

When my therapist asks me if I need anything else, I am at a loss. What else am I supposed to ask for? I don’t need any material item. No food is going to save me from my feelings. I just need someone to be with me because they care. Hugs and deep breaths are more than enough.

 

I need someone. That’s all that can bring me down when nothing else can anchor me. I am lucky to have people in my life who can fulfill this small need of mine.
Being there is more than I could ever ask for. Be there for me, and i’ll try to come back for you.

A New Medicine Brings New Hope

I have finally found a new medicine that works.

 

Well, I think I have.

 

I started a new pill a few weeks ago. I was scared to start it. It can cause white blood cells to decrease, which would lower my fight against serious infections. These infections could be life threatening, or as my doctor said, lead me to the Intensive Care Unit. I don’t have time for that in my life.

 

To check my blood cells, I have to get my blood drawn weekly for 26 weeks to test my cell counts I’ve been four or five times now.

 

I have found that the phlebotomists are extremely skilled at their work. I applaud them. I could never be around the blood or needle, much less find the right vein. They haven’t caused me too much pain, which is all I can ask for. A couple of the weeks, I barely noticed he was done, or that she had even started.

 

There is a receptionist that knows me by name and always has a smile on her face. She makes the experience a little more pleasant.

 

I also have to go to my psychiatrist weekly for a while, until my medicine is at the right dosage and he is sure it is working.

 

I’m at 100 mg of the pill at bedtime, and am probably going to get up to 300 mg. We are working to get me from six types of pills to two or three. He has taken me off of my morning dose of an old antipsychotic and will keep decreasing it and other medications. I am excited to not be so dependant on so many medications.

 

I guess the most important part of the medicine isn’t the blood tests or the doctor visits. The best part of it is how it is helping me.

 

I haven’t been feeling the greatest lately physically, but my mental health is top notch. I haven’t felt this good in a long time. I think I am at middle ground. I’m not too high or low. I’m right where I should be. I haven’t felt this good in a long time, and I couldn’t be more pleased. I’d take middle ground over floating high or digging low any day. This medicine is honestly a life saver. When my doctor took me off my depakote and was a low dose of the new pill, I was in a terrible mental state. As I increase the medicine, I know that this is the right pill for me.

 

I am always afraid that the medicine will work for a while and then stop, like every other medicine. However, I think that those medications put me in a false positive that only lasted for a few weeks.I didn’t feel like how I do now, a feeling I haven’t felt in a very long time.
Here’s to hoping that all continues in a positive direction. Medication isn’t the only helper, but for me, this is what I need at this point in my life.

Radio Station

Push me up against the wall

I’m already shoved enough

My face is black and blue

From numbness

And distress

 

My heart is through

Of knowing about you

 

Tell me that I’m number one

Then go on to just you having fun

I’m sick of this situation

I’ve decided that I am done

This is no longer your nation

I’m here to cut off your favorite song

I’m turning off your radio station

 

I might as well explode

Into bits of broken trust

You tried to break me

But I’ve been stitching up

This has been more than enough

 

My heart is done

My friendship went from you to none

 

Tell me that I’m number one

Then go on to just you having fun

I’m sick of this situation

I’ve decided that I am done

This is no longer your nation

I’m here to cut off your favorite song

I’m turning off your radio station

 

My stereo won’t speak your name

The TV won’t showcase your game

Your phone calls will not go through

Now no one else can get hurt by you

 

Tell me that I’m number one

Then go on to just you having fun

I’m sick of this situation

I’ve decided that I am done

This is no longer your nation

I’m here to cut off your favorite song

I’m turning off your radio station

 

I’m turning off your radio station

You’re ready for permanent vacation

I hope you find it good and well

Have fun burning up in Hell