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Friday, September 08, 2017

Instruction Manual? What Instruction Manual?

If there was an Instruction manual for me, It would be an Interesting read :)

... Unfortunately, when I was delivered, there wasn't one in the package.

So ... I guess I just have to figure it all out as I go ... I have read/watched a lot of online tutorials on how related models of human operate ... In other words - reading blogs and watching YouTube videos posted by other Aspies/Autistic people :)

Between that, and things I have learnt from talking with psychologists/etc, I am discovering, or learning reasons behind, all sorts of Interesting things about myself ... In some ways I have become my own science experiment ... I am finding a lot of this self discovery to be rather Intriguing :)

And ... the other day ... er ... a few weeks ago actually ... I sort of came up with something that is not quite Instructions, but is the beginnings of what is maybe a basic set of standard operating procedures ... which would be nice if people actually followed them ... 

Everyone deserves respect.
Please treat me like a normal person.
I am an adult, who has been to university (I have a Diploma of Applied Science), travelled, served in the Army, married, had (and brought up) children, gone back to work, divorced, rebuilt my life, fallen apart, and put myself together again.
I am artistic and creative,
I am intelligent 
(My IQ is probably higher than most people's)
I am fit and active,
I care about people,
I am willing and able to work hard,
I am loyal and honest,
... and I also happen to be Autistic.

So ... while I am fairly good at pretending I am completely "normal" there may be times when I come across as slightly odd, and I do sometimes have problems with communication - sometimes I might say the wrong thing, or not think to say something I should, or I may get excited about something and interrupt. Or I might not understand, or even totally misunderstand, something you say to me, or something I say may not make sense, or not mean what you think I said ... I know that sometimes happens, and I would prefer you to talk with me about it - point out to me if I have made a mistake - so that I can do something about it, or clarify what I meant if you don't like or are not sure about something I said or did - so we can understand each other better ... rather than have you be upset, treat me badly or complain about me to someone else ...

(It actually wasn't that difficult to work out those, now that I have worked out at least some of what went so wrong at work last year - I just had to think of the things that were done to me/not done for me ...)

I also tend to use way too many words to say things ... lol

and ... I am sure I did this last time we were up to the letter I for ABC Wednesday ... here are a couple of other Interesting? things about me ...

Indecisive 

I have always been Indecisive, but now I am not so sure ...

Actually - I am sure of that one ... another Aspie trait, I believe ... my problem is - I always want more Information before I can decide ... for example "Tea or coffee?" ... Well ... It depends If It Is Icky Instant coffee or you have real coffee that you make with a coffee machine or plunger ... and if the only tea you have is peppermint or some other equally disgusting flavour, or if you have normal tea, or a variety I will actually willingly Ingest.
... sometimes I gather a lot of information but I am still too confused to decide, and sometimes I take so long to decide on something that the decision is made for me ...
(Usually quite Irritating and/or Inconvenient)

Interestingly enough ... I had decided on something for this post a week or more before we were up to the letter I for ABC Wednesday ... I had an Idea in the shower ... and by the time I got out of the shower It had become 2 Ideas ... But I don't have to decide, because there is room for both ... In fact there is room for more than that - I added something else to the start of this post as well - another thing I "wrote" most of in my head while I was in the shower one night :)

Yes - I am an Interesting Individual!

... And I am usually quite happy to tell people why ... because I am an Individual ... and because I also happen to be Autistic ... 
But I sometimes get a quite irritating response to telling people that ... why do so many people Insist on saying something like this?:

"Oh, but we are all on the spectrum somewhere"

Really?

I have a neurological difference that most people would not want themselves or their children to have, and that is usually referred to as a "condition" or a "disorder" ... and you want to Identify with that? ... how Intrigueing ... and totally Illogical ... 

Maybe next time someone says that, I should reply with:

"Yes, I guess we are - if the spectrum you are talking about is the one where at one end is Informed/educated and at the other end is uninformed/Ignorant ... we are on opposite ends of that one, but if you have a few spare minutes I am happy to help you Inch a little bit further up towards my end ..."

I am quite happy to Inform people on topics I am familiar with ... being helpful is Intrinsic to my nature :)

So ... you are confused why my crazy brain Insisted on posting about so many I things, rather than saving some for next time around the alphabet?

So am I ... but I gave up and went with it ... LOL

... don't panic - I am sure I can think of plenty more ... not sure if everyone will like them all ... I guess it depends what I come up with for words like "Icky" and "illness" ... mind you, I could come up with a few Icky things to write about for a few otherwise Innocuous words as well :)

The hard part will be working out what to write for J next week ... or finding time to write it ... there are/will be things happening, that I will want to write about ... but until they do happen I won't know how they go, to know WHAT to write ... Cryptic? ... Yes ... you will Just have to wait and see ... 

In the meantime, here is a photo of myself being an Idiot yesterday :)


... a silly selfie I took with my iPad - for some (not so) secret Geocaching business :)

And ... an Interesting thing that "fell out of my pencil" this evening ...


Maybe it is just because I think I feel that way, but to me the face in the drawing looks a little bit uncertain and Insecure ... I guess the drawing could mean anything anyone wants it to - I don't even know what it means and I drew the darn thing!




Tuesday, August 29, 2017

How Are You?

"How are you?"

Funny kind of question that ... often people will just say "ok" or "fine thanks, and you?" and sometimes, some people will tell the person asking that question EXACTLY how they are, right down to every last detail. I have read in a few places that a lot of Aspies, when asked that question, tend to say "I don't know" ... because often they actually don't ... and I can relate to that!

(The stereotype of Aspergers is that we don't feel emotions, but that is totally wrong ... we do have emotions, and some are even overly empathic ... the problem is we often don't express them the same way, or understand them in ourselves and/or others, as well as other people ... I may or may not write something more about it one day ... there is already a lot been written about it online - look up "Alexithymia" if you want to know more :)
One thing I have learnt, is that "I don't know" isn't the answer people want ... they usually just expect "fine thanks" or if they are likely to be at all interested in the real answer - maybe something like "a bit tired after my long bushwalk" or "ok except for this flu bug I seem to have caught" ... rather than my whole life history or somesuch ...
So ... I often just answer "ok thanks" or lately, when I have not been totally ok and those asking me know that - I might say "getting there" or "surviving" or even something like "not that great" or "a bit stressed actually" ... but when I walk in to a GP or Psychologists clinic and the receptionist asks how I am ... I know they dont want to hear my entire medical history, but I can't just say the usual polite "ok thanks" ... because it is a bit bleeding obvious that the fact that I am coming to see a GP or a psychologist more than likely means I am NOT actually "ok" ... so I usually say something weird about that, something like "well - I am here seeing a Psychologist/doctor, so ... not too good I guess?" and we both end up laughing about what a silly question it is ... 

I also remember that there was one time, probably when I was a teenager, that someone asked "how are you" and my answer started with something along the lines of "well, my mum met my dad, and they loved each other so they got married and they ..." and I don't think I was allowed to continue any further with THAT particular answer :)
For some reason (probably because I was typing one of the journal entries I have been doing to help get my head around everything), I was thinking about how I am at the moment, and wondering if I was maybe a bit stressed, or if I was doing ok ... and this kind of happened in my head:
"How are you?" (A very short story)
"How are you today?" He said, as she walked in the door and nervously placed the referral letter, and the Mental Health Plan her GP had given her, down on the counter of the psychology clinic. "Er" she said, as she often does when she needs time to think of an answer, and she absent mindedly looked around the room while trying to work out what the answer should be. She was already aware of the girl she could now see - sitting in the corner, sobbing quietly on her mothers shoulder, and at the same time she could see the TV on the wall, playing yet another news article about that family who had just lost their son in a shooting incident at a shopping centre. She turned her head back toward the counter and her eyes paused a moment as she noticed that the man walking down the corridor only had one arm. Finally her brain clicked into gear enough for her to find words to answer the receptionists question "I am ok, thanks", she replied.



... So ... just in case some of the nice caring people who have followed the link from ABC Wednesday and read a few of my blog posts are wondering:

How am I?

... actually ... at the moment, as I am posting this ... The best answer I can come up with is ... I don't know!
and yes - that IS my answer, for the same typical Aspie reasons I mentioned at the start of the post - lol

I am ok ... not too bad, but not too good either ... but a bit better than last week ... which doesn't really say anything meaningful - lol 
Confusion seems to be my normal state of mind at the moment ... I think all the "red tape" and the "hurry up and wait" is getting to me ... sigh ...
I also think I still have a lot of figuring out to do, and still need more help with working out this whole emotions thing ... maybe it is easier to just keep being a Vulcan :)
Live long, and prosper ...


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Good Advice!

... and Geocaching ... this ABC Wednesday post kind of Grew - lol - so if you don't want to read about psychologists and my mental health (again) - you can scroll down to the * and read the Geocaching stuff)

Earlier this year, I took this photo:




Yes ... it is a diagram thingy that my psychologist drew for me, on a page of his notebook ... and I took the photo of it with my iPad (which I had sort of been trying to take notes on) because I wanted to remember it, and remember to actually DO what it said ...
(in fact I think I kind of Got reminded I needed to do that this week actually, when I realised I was feeling a bit down, and worrying about things, and worrying about how I was worried, and how I felt and ... on and on ... the joys of an Aspie brain that gets stuck on things, I Guess :)

A week or 5 later, I decided it was such Good advice - that I should make it into a quilt (I have not Got around to that yet - been busy with making the ones I just had in the CQ exhibition) ... Yes ... It probably isn't normal to use something your psychologist drew for you as a quilt design ... especially as I also intend to put it in next years Exhibition, and the description will say what it is ... and I am sure most people think it is not normal to write a quilt description about how I was visiting a psychologist - but I am not normal (I even have a bit of paper that says so - lol) 

The bit at the bottom, with slightly illegible writing in a couple of words, says "Stop! Do something enjoyable then come back to the problem"
Isn't it Great to have medical advice that says to Go and do something enjoyable?! :)
What a Great reason to Get out of doing some housework and Go Geocaching ... which is what I did quite a lot of ... and I think it was very Good "therapy" 

What I had forgotten, and realised when I looked what date I had taken that photo ... was that he had drawn that diagram at ... THAT ... visit ... a session that was memorable, not because it was bad, but because it was Good ... it was the one where after a couple of sessions where I was wondering if I was Getting anywhere and if he was actually doing anything to help, he finally seemed to GET me ... and I finally Got the other piece of the puzzle that I had been trying to figure out ... 
I had arrived, in a hurry from having also seen my GP for a review and then had a talk with the case manager who had organised my Graduated return to work (which the review was part of) and I ... thought ... I had some organised notes on my iPad, with some questions I had ... but I got all flustered and forgot what ones they were/where I had put them and kind of had a mini meltdown when I sat down to talk to the psychologist and couldn't find it ... which was not the Good thing I was Going to mention, but it was also another interesting bit of the puzzle that is me ... I had been reading about Aspies having overload and either having meltdowns, or shutting down ... and that is what I think happened then ... but with me i guess it isn't something I Get that often, isnt the total overload/shutdown that some Aspies get, and I don't get it from sensory overload, it seems to be emotional stuff ... and I have since thought of a couple of other weird incidents from the last several years, that I never understood what the heck happened and why, but I now have an explanation for ...
But the main thing about that particular session - the missing puzzle piece I needed -was just after that, when I had got my brain to sort of half work again, and we were talking and I was trying to describe how I was feeling and how I was frightened by how I felt, and how I didn't understand it, and how I felt weird and totally confused and overwhelmed by everything that was going on in my life ... and he suddenly stopped and looked at me, and said something like "I don't know why I didn't pick up on this before ... you feel [cant remember his exact words but he described much the same thing as I just had]? ... I think I said "yes" ... and he said "that's anxiety" ... 
[if this was a cartoon, that would have been the point where a lightbulb appeared above my head and lit up with a ding sound ... I probably just sat there stunned for a few seconds :] 
I have since realised that for me, anxiety doesn't feel like the textbook description I must have read somewhere, and it has been something I have had, to at least some degree, for many years, probably on and off for most of my life ... long enough that I just thought it was normal to feel like that, I guess ... 
The other weird thing is - I wrote in my notes, shortly after that session, that he had told me, sometime near the end, that I was now calmer/more settled than he had ever seen me ... I had forgotten about that ... I know something changed in me as a result of that day/visit ... but I didn't realise it had started to happen that quickly - lol
(within a couple weeks of that visit, I started having people who had not seen me since before then, tell me that I had changed ... calmer, more settled, happier ... Mum even went as far as to say I was the old me, a happier me, who she had not seen for many years ... yet also a new me ... Which I agree with ... the Autism diagnosis' and all this working out what makes me tick ... has been a really positive change ... I am not sure where I read the term, but I now feel more comfortable in my own skin ...


For a day that started off with a slightly stressful GP review, and turned into a bit of a shambles for a bit ... It actually ended up being a very Good day ... 

And ended up with me almost unintentionally taking that Good advice ... This was the day I think I blogged about a while ago, where I went to a public lecture/free lunch just after the psychologist session, then went wandering up a hill to find a Geocache, and sat and did some Mindfulness meditation under a tree while I was up there (mindfulness probably also deserves some of the credit for the Good progress I was making mental health wise at the time), then I went to an art exhibition opening, and then went shopping ... and on the way back I decided to Go and look for the new Geocache in the car park ... and met another Geocacher, who was waiting for 2 others and we all went and had a Good time climbing trees in the dark, to find the Geocaches up there :)

And Good Grief! ... I just noticed I had spelled "unintentionally" as "unintensionally" ... oh dear ... I guess I was talking about stress, so maybe that is why it came out with the word "tension" in there - although that is probably just a typo/not thinking about spelling ... and my Aspie brain now noticing weird wordplay and connections between things - LOL

*

I wrote most of this blog post a few days before I intend to post it ... It is now the next day, and yes, I am still going to wait a couple more days and post it for ABC Wednesday (as you may have Guessed - this week is the letter G :)

Today (Saturday :) I went and took that Good advice ... In the morning I went for a fun walk (along part of the Canberra Centenary Trail, and up a hill) with a group of people, and then most of us went for coffee ... (I had an iced coffee and lunch :) and then I decided to go find some Geocaches ... I stopped to find one just down the road, before heading out elsewhere ... but I never got out to the elsewhere because that first one was at an interesting place to explore ... actually a dog park (fenced area to exercise dogs off leash), which I didn't know was there - probably only a few locals who do - it was deserted the whole time I was there, and rather overgrown ... and quite a pretty patch of bush - so I might take my dog out there tomorrow :)
So what did I spend a couple of hours doing in a dog park without a dog? 
Took a few dozen photos ... many of which were selfies - lol
A few of them were OK ... This one is probably Good enough to Go in here:

[oops, was trying to decide and must have selected 2 - lol]



I also found a nice spot to not only take a few more silly selfies, but to sit and do a mindfulness meditation thing, the ones that I mentioned at the beginning of this post, which I had kind of stopped getting around to doing lately ... I should keep doing it actually ... 
Here is another silly selfie, or 2, that I took in that nice spot:














... and, because it was a nice spot' and there was only one Geocache inside the fence (the one I found) and one other outside the fence (which I had already found another day) I decided to look and see if there was room to hide my own Geocache over the other side ... yes there was ... picked out a possible spot ... and then walked a bit further, and I found a tree ... a pine tree, in a corner ... one I could climb ... Yes - of course I climbed it ...





I actually had a ready to hide Geocache with me (one I had tried to hide in a not so good spot, then gone back and removed when it wasn't approved) ... so ... it is now up the tree ... no, you can't go find it yet - I have to finish doing the listing for it and submit it before it is published (if it is actually approved)



I decided it was getting too late to go out and get the other Geocaches I had planned to drive a few km to find (but they will be perfect for one day after work, when I need to wind down), and so headed home ... but I stopped and found another Geocache on my way ... and found another tree ... lol
(I didn't have another cache to hide, but I have a weird idea for a biggish one I can hide up there ... maybe even a multi ... where to find it you have to go somewhere and collect information and then use it in some way to calculate/figure out where to go and look for the cache ... trouble is - I now have to figure out the figuring out bit that people will have to do for it - lol

... by the time I Got home and headed out to take the dog for his walk, it was Getting late, and it Got Dark while we were out walking - lol




Also, by the time I cooked a Good dinner and did a few things ... It has Got late ... Where has my evening Gone?

Ok ... now it IS Wednesday ... am just about to hit "publish" on this ... and a duplicate version on Wordpress - at aykayem.wordpress.com/2017/08/23/good-advice/ 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

All the Fun of the (Craft :) Fair

There is one particular weekend each year, when someone says "have a good weekend" I can Fairly confidently say "yes, I will" ... not specifically because of the Craft Fair, but because included in that is the Canberra Quilters exhibition :)
I generally manage to enter at least one quilt, sometimes a Few ... This year I entered Four ... and, surprisingly enough, I actually got them all Finished in time for delivery day (just! - there *might* have been some Frantic last minute sewing involved, as is usual For me :)

The Craft Fair/Quilt exhibition actually goes For more than just the weekend - it is also on the Thursday and Friday, but I generally can't go on those days because I am at work (as was the case this year too) however on Saturday and Sunday usually Find me there For the whole day, either wandering around looking at quilts or checking out the vendor stalls, and buying something or another that I probably don't really need (although this time I bought a few buttons and charms' and a pack of Fat quarters - which are 1/4 of a metre of quilt Fabric - and I Found some wooden star shaped beads, there were only 2 packets left, but if there had been more I would have bought more because I had been wanting more For a while - they are the same as the ones I used for the Fidget bracelets I posted about a Few months ago - I had Forgotten where I got them From ... I guess it was at the Craft Fair last year :)

I had started typing about my Exhibition Entries as my E post for ABC Wednesday ... but I kind of never got around to copying it in to blogger (From the notes app on my iPad, where I typed it) and Editing it ... but I did post something Else For that, over on my Wordpress blog - which I created a Few years ago, and decided to Experiment with again, to see if it works better than Blogger ... that post is at https://aykayem.wordpress.com/2017/08/09/everything-is-starting-to-make-sense-now/

Anyway ... I decided to copy a big chunk of the E stuff into this post, because kind of Fits nicely here:

Excited ...

... and Extremely surprised and happy ... I Entered 4 quilts in the Canberra Quilters Exhibition ... and one of them got a second prize! 
I actually found out I had won a second prize a few days ago, while I was Entertaining myself, being Energetic, and just a little bit crazy, taking photos in the wind and rain, on top of Mt Stromlo, after having gone on a bushwalk all morning, had coffee, and then walked up 2 other smaller hills to find Geocaches :)
I would include a photo of it here ... Except ... In my usual Extremely disorganised state (Executive Function is not one of my strong points :) I Ended up finishing the last of the stitching on one of them at about the same time as I needed to walk out the door to go and deliver them ... and I only just made it in time ... and I didn't take photos of the quilts before I left home because inside my house is a bit dark and outside there are patches of bright sunlight with weird shadows in all the wrong places, so I had figured I would take photos at the Canberra Quilters rooms, when I got there to deliver the quilts, as the lighting is better for photos there - a lot more Even ... But when I arrived, the people checking and signing the quilts in were ready to head home because the heating had not been working all day and they were freezing, so I didn't get a chance to take photos ...
I was hoping to be able to take photos today, when I was there helping hang the exhibition. .. but, after the Extremely frustrating and difficult task of organising to work some Extra time Elsewhen, I order to Extricate myself from work slightly Early, I had just headed off and driven on,y a short way down the road when I was called and told threat the hanging was done, so I do t need to go ... so ... I Expect I will be Finding a way to include my quilt photos in an F post next week :)

Of course I Forgot to actually Finish and post that ... but now I have taken some photos of the quilts I had in the exhibition, so I can Fiddle with those so they look ok and put them in here For you all (the 2 people who might read this? lol) to see:

(I also stole my descriptions, From the online catalogue (a First this year - they used to do a printed one), in case they are too hard to read on the signs, in the photos.)


Falling apart... and putting myself together again                                         84 x 132 cm 
Andrea made this quilt at the various drop-in sessions in the Canberra Quilters rooms, from scraps she picked up from ‘the free-to-a-good-home’ bucket. Coming in and sewing this and other things was good therapy while she was off work, recovering from a stress disorder. 
-----------------------------

Crosses? or Plusses?                                                                                            101 x 101 cm 
This quilt was made from blocks done Canberra Quilters Modern Quilt Group meetings. The name means that, sometimes, things that seem like ‘crosses’ (such as unfortunate events) can turn out to be ‘pluses’ – it all depends on how one looks at life. 
-----------------------------

Late Bloomer (finally finding myself)                                                                   50 x 70 cm 
Having spent most of her life feeling like she was fighting an invisible enemy, this year, at age 54, Andrea was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. This was actually good news – rather than having missed her prime, she can now be a late bloomer and be happy being herself. 
------------------------------

Whatever Happens...Happens                                                                              30 x 26 cm 
Draw a rough idea; find fabric; draw a neater design, but totally change it; change fabric; change design a bit more; do nothing for three weeks; submit entry form; start making quilt. Yes, that is how someone whose life has gone a bit haywire does things! 



And ... this one is not mine, nor is the photo (I forgot to take one on my phone, so I "borrowed" this one from the Canberra Quilters Website - this one also won a prize), but I did help make a tiny bit of it - I was at the meeting where we sewed the blocks, and I think I put together about 4 blocks, using fabric someone else had, because the type/colour fabrics we used were something I don't actually have in my stash ... I can't actually remember what fabric I used, which makes it a bit hard to pick out which blocks ... or if they actually even ended up IN there ... sigh 


Kross Kut Kaffe                                                                                                      169 x 154 cm 
Members of the busy Canberra Quilters Modern Quilting Group contributed some Kaffe Fassett and low volume background fabrics. Some fun and creative collaborative piecing and cross-cutting revealed a chaotically intriguing and colourful modern quilt. 

I did make my own Cross Cut quilt too ... but it is still only a top ... I wanted to enter it in the exhibition, but it only fitted in the same catagory as 2 of my others, and we could only enter 2 quilts in each catagory ... besides ... I still have not worked out how the heck I want to actually quilt it ... or when I will actually get around to it ... lol
Because I don't still have the photo on my phone, and can't find it quickly on my Google photos online - here is a screenshot of my post on Instagram - which is where we found out about this design :)
(if you have Instagram and type in that # you will see a whole lot more, and I found the link to the instructions in there too ... not that I really followed them that exactly or anything ...)



There are photos of the prize winning quilts on the Canberra Quilters website ... At http://canberraquilters.org.au/2017-members-exhibition-results/

Oh ... and, like most of my posts on here, this post is a bit weird because it is my letter F post for https://abcwednesday.com/ :)


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Everything Is Starting To Make Sense Now ...



My oh my, how things have changed since I wrote my first post on https://aykayem.wordpress.com/ !
(which is where I posted this, a few days ago, and where I might keep blogging, because Blogger is getting really really annoying :)

At the time I started that Wordpress blog, I (thought I) was happily married, I seemed to have a good life, and a job that even though it didn’t pay to well, it was one I liked … and the hours were good and the pay was enough with what my husband earned as well … I thought my life was relatively normal … and I had a place in the world, even if I achieved nothing else in life, it now didn’t matter, as I was the mother of my children 🙂
Maybe I was not quite where a younger me had hoped and dreamed I might be, but it was ok …

 … but I was not ok … I guess I never really was … that started to become all too evident when things started to unravel … I guess my life had been unravelling a bit for some time … but the first I noticed anything wrong, apart from a niggling feeling that I wasn’t totally happy, but I couldn’t work out why, was the day my (now ex) husband came home early from work and announced that he was leaving me, as he packed up his things – said had decided we would be happier apart … turns out he was actually right about that … just an … interesting … way of doing things …
At the time I then realised that things had not been right for quite a while … but at that stage I just thought it was him, and the fact that we had not been right for each other … we weren’t … but it turns out there was a lot more to it than just that …
I probably don’t need to do a whole long blog post all about what happened next/since then … I blogged it overhere ... at aykayem.blogspot.com … and I think I am going to copy those posts in here, to this to my Wordpress blog, if it works … (By all means, feel free to follow that link and go and read them all)
 … except I will say that when he left early in 2013, I realised I had not been happy for quite some time, and I started picking up the pieces of my life, and rebuilding … I cleaned up, packed up, and sold “our” house, and bought and moved to my own house, and I was looking for a better job … I was told I was coping really well, and I felt like I was doing fine … but there was one crucial price of the puzzle missing … in fact it had been missing for many, many years … and things stopped getting better, and started getting worse … until last year, when I started to realise that something was not right, but couldn’t work out what I was doing wrong, and I spiraled into a mess of anxiety and depression, and ended up falling apart …

 But now, this year, at 54 years of age … I have found that missing piece of the puzzle that I am …

 … after a lifetime of feeling alien and different and confused, I have finally found somewhere I fit in, somewhere I belong – and I am actually happy to say that I have joined the ranks of the “late diagnosed Aspies”

 Yes – I – who went to university, served in the Army, married and had kids, became involved in all sorts of stuff in the community, and has worked in the same job for about 18 years, until I finally “broke” – am actually Autistic …

 … and I am now in the … interesting … process of finding my true self 🙂

 

Another futile attempt to post "Everything Is Starting To Make Sense Now...

Everything for Blogger, it seems ... Which is annoying me no end... So feel fred to ignore this and/or just go follow the link at the bottom :)
...several attempts to save posts as drafts and have either the Android or iPad app not lose them is annoying... especially when I only have to do that because the apps don't do things I need to do (simple things like adding links or putting photos where I want them) but the on-line editor does not work properly on either Safari or Chrome on my iPad... Which is why, last week, I decided to try posting the [now not] below post on WordPress... It worked ok :)
So... now trying to decide if I should just blog there...
I also tried to post this [the post this WAS going to be] yesterday and the Blogger app lost it... currently arguing with blogger again... I copied in the text from WordPress, and a couple of the photos, again, and saved it as a draft, on my phone ... and have just logged in to blogger on the Web browser on my laptop... Which doesn't think it exists... so I am adding this whinge, on my phone... and am about to see if it will lose it, or still not show up in blogger on my laptop, or actually work...

Nope... not working... think the photo links were broken too... gave up and deleted it because I can't be bothered making it work... I might try again doing it all on my laptop... but in the meantime, or if Blogger won't even do that... the WordPress post is at https://aykayem.wordpress.com/2017/08/09/everything-is-starting-to-make-sense-now/

... now I just have to work out the idiosyncrasies of that particular platform and make that blog look a bit better... sigh...

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Doctors and Psychiatrists and Psychologists and ...

... Specialists and Therapists and a case manager or 2, a Rehabilitation Provider, and a Lawyer, and who knows who else I have forgotten/am not yet sure about, who I can add to the list of people I have had appointments/met/etc with lately ... or might be seeing soon ... 

In the last 12 months I think I have seem more medical professionals than the whole rest of my life ... maybe not quite, but it sure feels like it ... I seem to have been plunged into a whole new world, that I knew next to nothing about ... 

So why am I Drowning in Doctors/etc? ... Long story ... which involves falling apart, and then being Diagnosed with a Disability I Didn't know I had (and have had all my life) and a mental health Disorder that I don't quite know how long I have had, or how long it will last ... 

(If you want to know more, you can Delve into some of my last few blog posts - most of them explain a bit more about all that :)

I guess the positive side of being Diagnosed as Autistic/Aspie, and also Diagnosed with "Adjustment Disorder with Anxiety", is that I can have a lot of fun trying to Describe myself :)

... which is a pleasant change from my school/teenage years when other people had fun Describing me ... and most of the Descriptions/names were rather Derogatory (Dumb, Dopey, Disturbing, Disgusting, ... and that is only one letter of the alphabet! ... Doing D words because that is the letter we are up to with ABC Wednesday :)

[Later edit: Well, we were when I started Doing this post ... being busy, then Blogger not playing nice, has meant I seem to have missed the Deadline ... but now that I have Done this post I am going to "Deliver" it to my blog anyway ...]

At school, I also got called retard, and a few other things that meant much the same thing...

Mind you ... I Did Do a few crazy things to earn some of the names I was called ... like eating raw sausages in front of everyone else (as in a whole school of about 800 students!) who were waiting for the end of year BBQ to be cooked, always picking up creepy crawlies, and taking home the lens out of the eye of the mouse I Dissected in Science class ... not to mention turning up to school every day for who knows how many weeks in grade 6, wearing a pair of antennae I had made out of wire ... and also still wearing them to quite a few other places for quite some time after that ... because my hero was not someone most people liked, like Roy Rodgers or Batman or Barbie or Superman - it was Uncle Martin from the TV series My Favourite Martian ... because he was an alien having to cope with being stranded on the wrong planet, and I could identify with that feeling :)

So ... How should I Describe myself? 

Dunno ...

Maybe "Delightfully Different"? 

Will that Do?

(I think I WAS going to use that for the title of this post, but I changed my mind :)

Better than "Disturbingly Different" which, I think, is probably how the other kids at school saw me :)
... and how *some* people still see me now.

Damn ... I seem to have written yet another post that is probably not very interesting ... So ... Here is ... NOT a photo of a nearby Dam, where I often walk my Dog ... and a photo of my Delightful Dog - his name is Diesel ... he even has a Twitter account - @DieselDoggle :)
The 2 Differnt things I spent an hour trying to Do, to add those photos - Didn't work ... So I had a look what was already on my iPad and found a Different photo of Diesel, from almost a year ago, sleeping on my Deck :)

Shhh ... Don't Disturb the sleeping Doggy's Delightful Dreams :)



I gave up on trying to add the other photos that I was going to put in here - because I got sick of arguing with Blogger trying to put them in there from Google photos ... Neither the Android app or the iPad app do all the things I need to actually write a blog post and include a hyperlink and add a photo, and the editor on the website doesn't work properly on my iPad ... in Safari or Chrome ... and I just spent over half an hour adding a photo and editing this, hit the post button and the stupid effing blogger app crashed, signed me out, and lost all the changes - ahrgh! - might be time to move my blog elsewhere? I guess I could copy all my posts over to a Wordpress blog I have, but don't use, and then keep on posting to Wordpress? Pity, because I used to like blogger, when it worked for me ... and moving a blog is a pain ... but posting to blogger has now become more of a pain than moving my blog is likely to be ... 

... I will try and post about something a bit more Exciting for the letter E ... hopefully in a couple Days time - a bit Earlier than I am Doing this D post :) ... I actually Do have something in mind already ... something to Do with a quilt Exhibition I Entered  some quilts in ... something I never Expected, and am not only surprised and Excited about, but also Extremely happy :)

Actually I found out about the thing I am happy about while I was up on Mt Stromlo taking photos in the freezing cold wind and rain, which is probably part of the reason I then ended up taking selfies while Doing a happy Dance in the Destroyed Dome of a telescope ... I was going to say it was Disused - but it Definitely isn't - it seems to be the Done thing to use it to take portraits, wedding photos, photos of motorcycles, and even to have concerts in ... 


I also took a Different photo (Didn't use it here because the movement made it a bit Distorted) where I set the self timer and twirled around until it took the photo ... and ended up feeling rather Dizzy! 
(Erk - a slightly Disturbing feeling - lol)

There are also some other things I thought about putting in here, but I Didn't ... I Decided that maybe I shouldn't say them yet ... partly the "if you Don't have anything nice to say, Don't say anything" thing :)
Also - partly because they are a bit Depressing ... or just Don't really fit ... or require me to Delve in to a lot more Details than I want to go into right now ... and I want to Do a Decent job of explaining a couple of other things, in their own posts, maybe :)
... somehow I Definitely Don't think I can/should really go into too much Detail quite yet, about the Disillusionment of being in the situation I am still in at the moment with work, where all the "red tape" etc. means that things are still happening at the speed of Dark ... let's just say that I am not the only person who is Disturbed and Disgusted at the Dreadful way some things have been/not been Done ... 

... One thing I Do want to eventually write something (more) about is my newly Discovered Disability, and the "Delights" of being *almost* normal ...

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Catching up, and Coming to terms with things ...

Catching up with all the stuff I have been trying to get done? - probably never going to happen ... but hopefully I will get myself sort of a bit more organised ...
Catching up on blogging ... also, something I will probably never keep up with ...
But Catching up on sharing what is going on with me/in my head/etc - is something I Can try and do for you now ... all one or 2 of you who actually read my blog posts :)
This is also my Contribution for  http://abcwednesday.com/ ... which is up to letter C (I have missed a few - oops - another thing I Can't Catch up on if I miss it - and a Couple hours later and I would have missed being able to add my link for the letter C too - I really should be Doing a D post now [er - actually, I SHOULD be sleeping - oops :] ... might Do something (Different?) for D in a Couple of Days ... If I don't get too Distracted - lol)

So where have I been?! - I kind of got busy going to Adelaide for a couple of weeks (and Catching up with some family members I had not seen for many years ... In some cases not since I was a teenager! Also revisited places I used to go as a Child) Then I came back, and Continued my "graduated return to work" (am back to my normal hours now) and kept busy keeping busy ... Geocaching, quilting, etc etc etc ... and reading library books, blogs, etc about Autism and Aspergers - lol
I still don't have a clue where I will eventually end up working ... am currently still in limbo ... being used as an extra body (doing "alternate duties") at the same place I have been for about 15 years ... it has been decided, by "the powers that be" I should not go back to what I was doing ... so they have to find somewhere else for me ... but things are taking time to happen ... all the red tape, etc ... things like this seem to move at the speed of dark - lol

But ... I have been doing a lot of thinking, and Coming to terms with things ...

Who would have thought that, at my age (54) I would be having to come to terms with the fact that I actually have a disability ... but the good news with this is - it is not something I have just acquired - it is, mostly (aside from the whole stress disorder thing that is multiplying some of the effects of it at the moment), one which I have had for all of my life ...
Weird eh?
Am I Crazy? ... no ...
Confused? ... don't know about you, but me - yes ... lol

Just part of the weirdness that Comes from falling apart and then in with all that mess, discovering that part of the reason my whole world Came Crumbling down was that I had been trying to Cope with it all minus one bit of Crucial information ... that I am actually Autistic!
... that diagnosis did not Come as a Complete surprise - I had my suspicions that I may have Aspergers, but had then dismissed them - as I was too social, too vocal, too normal ... or so I thought ... what was so Confusing was the stereotypes that one tends to hear/read about, and the fact that I did not have a Clue just how much it actually Could affect me ... things I never realised/thought of ... like this stuff: https://musingsofanaspie.com/executive-function-series/ and https://musingsofanaspie.com/2013/08/02/procrastination-or-executive-function-fail/

Of Course it also didn't help that a psychologist I saw for Counselling when my ex walked out (in 2013) also told me I was normal - just "a rare personality type" ... when I asked if I might have Aspergers he laughed and said "no, you don't have that - you make good eye Contact and Can Carry on a Conversation with me" ... argh ... and unfortunately an all to Common thing to happen [here is a link to a recent article about why: https://theconversation.com/the-women-who-dont-know-theyre-autistic-80991 ]

Ok ... I typed some of this stuff several days ago, ready to finish typing and post it later ... and I had this bit in there: [copy in some of what I wrote about coming to terms with stuff, here and there in notes]
... I have been typing up these blog post ideas in the notes app on my iPad, and I have also been typing up a kind of "dear diary" type thing every day or 5, with what has been happening, and any thoughts and feelings I can think of/remember ... I have found it quite useful - typing things helps me sort them out better in my thoughts ... a bit like talking about them does ... sometimes I work out what I think/feel about things when I notice myself telling someone! or when it kind of ends up being written here in my notes ... or kind of appearing in the middle of a blog post I am writing - lol
(And some of what ends up in my blog posts starts as things I was writing in my notes :)

Now ... I wonder when I wrote whatever it was I wanted to add in here?

*goes and looks*

I think I was thinking about this:

"It has been an interesting journey/adjustment I have to make ... from always being such a fiercely independent person, to now having to come to terms with just how much help I actually seem to need at the moment ...

 ... and maybe that is (at least partly) why I have been getting myself into so many [emotional] knots about my work situation/Comcare/etc stuff ...?

 Oddly enough - I am now looking forward to possibly seeing an OT, and maybe yet another shrink ... and who knows who else ... and seeing a psychologist again (I already knew I definitely need to do at least that, but now realising I probably do need the all the other stuff as well) ... was always looking fwd to getting some kind of help with skills Assesment/finding out what job I would be best suited to, but now also really interested to find out more about me ... all the things I might have going on/working differently that I have always just thought was normal ... like what problems/differences, if any, do I have with things like proprioception, motor skills, coordination, sensory stuff, etc ... [not to mention all the things that contributed to the problems I was having at work - communication, executive function, social problems, anxiety, who knows what else ... ]

 Just ... still feel a bit weird about it all ... probably because I don't actually know how I feel? lol"

And this:

"It is an odd place to be in ... Knowing that I am highly intelligent and in so many ways so capable ... but yet I am also ... to be quite honest - mentally disabled ...

[the stress disorder alone would qualify me for that label]

Yet somehow ... as confronting and undesirable that label would have sounded to me in the past ... for some reason, maybe because it now has a logical reason/understanding attached, I now seem to be ok with accepting it?!

The odd situation I have read about on blogs/in books - of being so disabled in some ways, yet in others" [most things :] ... not ...

Not sure if I wrote this anywhere in my notes, but definitely something I have been thinking lately:

I am ... Almost normal ... I could probably use that as a title for my blog, or a book ... almost ... but not quite ... I look normal, and often act normal - I even thought I was normal (just not very good at it) for most of my life, and can mostly BE normal ... except those few times ... where I am not ... lol

Oh ... I just found what I already wrote ... I was the beginning of an idea for a blog post for the letter A ... that I never got Around to doing - lol
I think I said it better the first time:

"Almost normal ...
One of the problems with being an Aspie, or having any variety of high functioning Autism, or ADHD/ADD, etc. and probably with a lot of other hidden disabilities too ... is that most of the time one can Appear, Act, and to all intents and purposes - BE, quite normal ... except for those times when one isn't! - when things don't work/one encounters a problem ... and then it comes as a surprise to people, and/or one is expected not to have a problem because "you usually don't have problems" or "everyone else can do that" or "but you are not disabled?" ... when in reality ... I am ...
Some of the time it is quite obvious, but other times not even noticeable - in fact I didn't even know myself, until I was 54!"

Although maybe I should not use "almost"? ... it may imply that I am something less ... when in some ways I am MORE than normal ... as someone else (I think it was Temple Grandin) says: "different, not less" ...

So - maybe I should describe myself as "Delightfully Different"? lol

Or ... I Could just Continue to Call myself "Crazy" ? :)

(Or does that one also have the wrong Connotations? ... when people Call me Crazy I have always Considered it a Compliment - lol

I think this is where I Could also include a quote from the lyrics of a Leonard Cohen song ... Currently my favourite song - (Anthem)

"There is a Crack, a Crack in everything - it's how the light gets in"

I have a "Crack" ... and I want to light up the world!


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Turning point?

Have I reached a Turning point?

maybe? ... I hope so ...


A few months ago I just felt confused, and Terrible, and have since spent some Time Trying to sort out my messy mind ... Over The last week or 2 a few people I know have commented that I seem better, more settled, even different ... and yes - I feel a bit less frightened and stressed, and a couple of Things that a month or 3 ago would have sent me into yet another Tailspin of obsession and anxiety are actually not worrying me Too much ...

Although I am slightly worried that this is just an up before the next down ... a lot of my recovery (from the stress disorder) has, so far, been Two steps forward, one step back ... but ... maybe Things are going ok - There is progress, and even if There is a setback, I have survived so far - I am Tough (resilient? stubborn? "D: all of the above"? :) ... so if I fall down, I will just do as I have always done - pick myself up and Try again :)

My parents are down here visiting me (arrived Sunday) and Tonight (Saturday night actually - I wrote this post in the wee small hours of Sunday :) I was Talking to Mum, and she said I seemed different ... different than I had been for many years (maybe even forever) ... and yes ... I guess I do feel a bit different ... I Think ... lol
Possibly I have been way more stressed, for way longer than I ever realised? ... and I know that, despite knowing there are some things I am quite good at, I have had quite low self esteem for as long as I can remember ... but Mum said now I seem more confident ... 
... hmm ... maybe I am?
Maybe now that I know myself a bit better, and know why I have had Trouble with the Things that have been problems for me - I now don't feel so bad about myself, and can be proud of who I am, and how well I have done while spending my life feeling like I have been fighting an invisible enemy ... (who is now my friend :)
Maybe my diagnosis (and learning more about what it means for me) has given me the serenity I needed to accept the things I can't change, and to change the things I can?

Where once stood a confused and frightened nobody, now stands a proud Aspie :)

... Andrea the Aspie:
awkward but amazing,
weird and wonderful,
peculiar ... and proud!
Terrible at some things, yet Talented at others ...

... Time to be True to myself :)







... Typical - couldn't Think what to write for my ABC Wednesday letter T post - and Then one just kind of wrote itself in my head while I was having my shower - lol
(However Trying To Take a nice selfie To go in here was another matter - I ended up resorting To "here is one I prepared earlier" (Two photos, Taken with self Timer Thingy, on Top of a hill a few days ago:)

And ... because I can - another photo I just Took:

Some sewing ... On left: something I started Today, on right: what I should be working on :)




Thursday, May 18, 2017

So much...

So much I could Say, about So many things?

So many ideas for what to post about, for ABC Wednesday letter S ... mostly (but, Sorry, not all) quite Short, So I might Say Several of them :)

So many things I need/want to do - like catching up with some Geocache logging from when I was in NZ last year, putting all my holiday photos onto the computer/hard drives and Sorting them out, and finishing unpacking and Setting up my Sewing room/etc - (Seeing it is now about 18 months Since I moved in to my own house!) ... and for most of all the time I have had off work - I think I was way too Stressed to be able to actually do that Sort of Stuff ... Sigh

So much fun?
Yes, I many not have got a lot of my "to do" list done while I was off on Sick leave, but I did Still manage to have some fun - it is probably what kept me at least Sort of Sane ... being able to go and do Some fun Stuff, and having a wonderful Dog to do come home to (or do Some of it with :), quite possibly Stopped me from doing Something Silly when my whole world Seemed like it was falling apart and I didn't know why - I was able to take my mind off things and "recharge my batteries" a bit ... So I ended up doing all Sorts of Silly Stuff like Splashing about on lakes in my kayak, bushwalking, Sewing quilts, and Geocaching :)

... So ... this might be a good Spot to Stop and add a few photos ... of Some Stuff I have done recently, and Some Stuff I have found interesting and taken photos of while doing Stuff :)

Slightly bushed?
Silly Selfie :)
Some Silhouetted (or however one Spells that word :) trees that I took a Screen Shot of to use for a design excercise at an art quilt meeting.

Strange tree.
Strange person in tree :)
Spikey tower
Some books I borrowed from the library
(a bit of light reading?! :)
Silvery raindrops, twinkling on my tree
Sunset, Somewhere I went walking to Search for (and found :) a Geocache. 
Strange artistic fence post...
Somewhere down there is a river (where I found the Geocache :)
Some Scribbles on the whiteboard at Canberra Quilters room - we were drawing quilt designs
(mine is the Spikey thing on the left :)
Sleeping dog
(so I let him lie :)
Some trees in a courtyard at work (I am Sitting under a Similar one out by the gate at the moment ... using my laptop on their wifi to add the captions to these photos and post this mess ... and it is raining leaves - they keep landing on my laptop! :)
Somewhere else I went Geocaching :)
S--t!
Smoke (from a controlled burn)
Sky
Smoke - same lot as other photo but a bit later
 ... looks like someone tried to nuke Parliament House and missed :)
Diesel dog, Shredding the rubbish while I was Sweeping the other half of the floor ...
Strange Sky
Same Strange Sky, Slightly different angle.
more Sky
Still more Sky ...
... and the best part, as far as Stress relief goes, about Geocaching (and most of the other stuff too) was not just finding Geocaches, it was all the wandering around in the bush, Seeing interesting things, taking photos (including Several Silly Selfies :) and generally Slowing down my busy mind so it could be Slightly more Still ...

So much Stuff ...
Yes, I collect ... Stuff ... when I was little, very little even, I used to drive my parents nuts - filling my pocket up with rocks and gum nuts and bits of string and wire, and whatever else I had found and decided I wanted to keep ... I still pick up interesting rocks and things ... and my pockets are never big enough for all the Shells I pick up when I go to the beach ...
Over the years I have also collected a huge Sewing/textile art Stash ... Sewing, and other crafty stuff is a "Special interest" I have had, and will probably continue to have, for many years (and yes, there are others - an Aspie can have more than one :)

"Stuff" was also a part of the problems I ended up having at work ... Science equipment and Store rooms full of equipment and supplies and other junk to keep tidy and organised ... when organising is not exactly my strong point ... not when it also involves organising it in a way that also Satisfies Several other people who use it, and having to do all the other things my job entailed, all at the Same time. It was nice to be able to play with all Sorts of fun Science Stuff, and I kind of miss that ... but I just wasn't So good at Sorting out all the ... Stuff ...

Science is fun ... did I mention having more than one Special interest? - lol - Science is another one ... that and Space, and Science fiction - when I was a teenager I used to read about 4 books a week ... at least 3 were Sci Fi novels ... and the 4th one usually was too ... I think I read every Sci Fi book the public library had :)
... I guess, even though I am not sure the word was even invented yet - I was a nerd?!
One odd thing though ... Space invaders was a thing when I was in my late teens ... but I never actually played it! ... Something about not wanting to Spend 20c to sit/stand and push a button in a vain attempt to "kill" Some pretend Space Ships ...? That, and I didn't like doing things unless I knew I could actually do them (which is why I quite happily did stuff like climbing up trees, but only if I knew I could safely get down again :) ... and, with space invaders (or any of those kind of games/etc) - me actually pressing the buttons at the right time so my "missiles" would actually hit their target, with me being as uncoordinated as I was - I just knew that was not going to happen - lol

So Social ...
Yes - I actually like meeting people/doing stuff with people and Socialising (although I think quite a few of those I have Socialised with would probably preferred I didn't - as I have been described as things like having been "vaccinated with a gramophone needle" ... and "weird" and "(annoying" ... and probably worse...) , the whole Seeking Social Stuff thing is Something which Sort of confuses me - and it was one of the reasons that even though I had, Several years ago, Suspected I possibly had Aspergers, I really didn't think I quite fit all the criteria ... besides - how could an Aspie be Such a Showoff/Seeker of attention as I can be?! But yes - it Seems that is quite possible ... there is Such a thing as an Aspie Extrovert - lol

Settled?
Or at least Slightly more So? ... I have had a few people mention to me, in the last Several days, that I Seem to be more Settled than I was last time they saw me/a few weeks ago ... Somehow I think they might be right ... could be a Sign that I am finally Sorting my messy mind out Slightly ... although - Same as my Sewing/etc stuff - I am not sure it will actually ever be nice and neat and tidy - lol

... I wrote that last bit just now, but a week or 2 ago I wrote this:

Small Steps?
Maybe getting Somewhere ... but Still a long way to go ...
... Stress is a weird thing.
none of this has been Smooth Sailing ... but maybe the storm is passing now?
things are Slightly calmer ... Sometimes ...
... and it will take Some time to Settle down/recover/return to Some Semblance of a "normal" Settled life ...
... probably once I have finished doing the whole graduated return to work thing, and the whole "apply for a transfer" thing can happen, and I get a new position Somewhere ... or not ... and hopefully end up in a Job more Suited to me ... but who knows what, or when that will be ... Sometime ... I will do/be ... Something ... I guess ...

... Seems it is time to Start the rest of my life?

... Maybe even time to reach for the Stars?

:)


... but right now? - off to find my daily Geocache ... think I am up to about day 400 in a row now (if day 400 is not today it is/was Sometime this week ... I was going to go for a month or so, then decided "until I go to NZ" but I kept going there and decided to do a whole year ... but then I kind of didn't know how to Stop :)