Archive for the ‘stressful situations’ Category

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Reblogged: Not-So-Retail Therapy

February 24, 2013

This post reblogs a refreshing alternative to conspicuous consumerism, and adds some of our own thoughts triggered by the reblogged post. We should all strive to evaluate our needs and wants more carefully. There is a big difference between the two. Oftentimes what we THINK we need is actually a very strong desire, but doesn’t fit into a “vital” category: food, shelter, safety, water, health.

Speaking for ourselves, we find shopping (for ourselves) to be mostly a chore or obligation, and not one that we would consider “fun” or “relaxing.”

Shopping with someone else, to assist xem in finding things xe needs, is a different story depending on the person. For instance, our sister N needed to find dress shoes to match her dress for the Inauguration Ball (her boyfriend was on Obama’s campaign staff and the Inauguration committee staff also- thats why she was able to go). I (Andrea) and our mom met her in DC and we were out for 4 hours. I was exhausted by the end of it. All for a pair of shoes. But she NEEDED them for the occasion. And I figured since I don’t get to see N much now because we live 6 hours apart, that shopping was a way to spend some sister-time together. I actually insisted that I accompany mom and N on the shopping trip, to their pleasant surprise (they both know I hate malls due to noise and crowds.)

I was certainly thankful to be OUT of the mall when we all finally finished. After that I think we had a nice meal together. Mom and N probably said something about being proud of me for braving the mall for so long. I must have thought to myself “glad to help” and “thank goodness for comfortable ear plugs!”

Shopping for pleasure, to us, is an oxymoron most of the time.

Collaborative, mostly written by Andrea, finished by Ivan in her absence

Adventures in Thanks-Living

Most folks who know me well are aware that I do not take much pleasure in shopping–especially the kind of retail shopping that involves plunking down major cash outlays for transitory and often cheaply made consumer goods. In short, I just about have to be dragged to a shopping mall.

That said, I can understand how shopping can be classed as “retail therapy.” There’s the thrill finding that seemingly perfect item to fill a need, or more likely, a want in a person’s life. I’ve been there and done that and have come to find the outcome severely lacking.

Now I practice “not-so-retail” therapy. Let me explain. As a member of The Compact, I avoid buying new items that contribute to an ever-growing waste stream and violate principles of justice and equity that I hold important.

My latest “not-so-retail” therapy sessions involved Goodwill, Staples, and Dollar Tree. Here’s the…

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Feeling Intruded Upon

December 19, 2012

Why the hell do people always think that even when I seem to be sitting around doing nothing, I might be far away in my mind-fortress and not want to interact(even to respond to a request to do something) or be disturbed? The following is just one example one of us came up with(possibly Athena; she likes watching insects. That says NOTHING whatsoever about her “functioning level”, by the way. So “I” refers to Athena. She wrote this draft many months ago, like most of our recently published entries) While I was observing some insects going about their business, my mother asked me to hang up the laundry. Okay, forgiven. She doesn’t know that I drift away somewhere else, because I have never really told her, so she has no way to know. I have intentionally not told her or anyone else in my family. (Not the full truth; I can’t figure out how to tell them in a way that wouldn’t result in awkward questioning.) So this is more of an internal dilemma and rhetorical question than anything else. When I did not respond to her request/demand, she “invaded” my fortress a second time, and penetrated more deeply with her speech and body language. Feeling cornered, I responded (I can’t remember what exactly I said, besides “yes” or “okay mom”) to make her retreat, because I didn’t want to continue the interaction at the time. I just wanted to be content sitting on the steps, watching the insects. Alas, Mom would have me do something else.

In another post we will try to explain the benefits to us, of being able to “go away” into our mind. It can be calming and rejuvenating. But there is also a downside, such as when our thoughts get into a negative, repeating loop. It happens more to Ivan than myself or Athena. We aren’t sure why. That issue is probably worth a post on its own.

Collaborative, Andrea and Athena.

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Managing Meltdowns

December 10, 2012

Information about managing meltdowns

I would love to hear from other autistic people, about what methods work for them, to manage overload and self-regulate levels of stress and emotion! Please share yours in the comments section! Also if you want to respond/comment on some of the ones in this reblogged list, please do!

Thanks

Athena

Raising a Child with Asperger's Syndrome

Note: I apologize for this post being late. I had this post completely finished yesterday afternoon and my internet connection glitched and I lost 50% of this post.

 Reading Gavin Bollard’s article, Adult Meltdowns and Problems of Restraint, prompted me to ask several of my Facebook and Twitter acquaintances the following question:

As adults, how do you anticipate/prevent meltdowns? Or handle the situation post-meltdown?

The subsequent responses on twitter and Facebook were so helpful to me, I wanted to share some of my favorites ideas.

First I wanted to share my favorite definition of a meltdown:

When the sensory and neurological system becomes overwhelmed to the point of loss of control. This can look like rage or a tantrum but it is deeper than that. – Lynne Soraya

There seems to be three parts to meltdown control.

Prediction:

#5 – Know your Triggers. (@Sunfell) The first step to any of this is understanding…

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This time of semester SUCKS

December 4, 2012

Lately I have been feeling very overwhelmed with shit and often I end up feeling numb. Like I don’t care about school anymore. But that is simply not true. I do care. We do care. The grinding overload, plus the seasonal depression, makes concentration very difficult to say the least. I have spent much more time than usual reading blogs, and writing my own stuff. That isn’t going to help us learn Differential Equations or Abstract Algebra. It isn’t going to get our homework done, or help us study for exams. It may even be contributing somewhat to our depression, because we read about what other advocates are doing and we feel bad about not being more involved.

The middle of November is the start of the big push until final exams. Thankfully this semester we don’t have any writing classes. I think the less than ideal way we handle the pressure is THE reason why we cannot realistically be full-time in school. We simply cannot handle all the coursework of a full load plus all the other non-academic crap (keeping apartment habitable, grocery shopping, getting gas when we need to, etcetera. We will talk in more detail about these aspects of daily life in a different post.

Before the semester began, all of us were ITCHING to go back to school, because our summer break was TERMINALLY BORING. I can’t remember much about it at all. Other than wanting so badly to be back in school and advancing our study of mathematics.

Abstract algebra is fascinating but can be a pain in the behind. Differential equations- nom nom nom. But we haven’t been keeping up with homework for that class because the other class consumes so much attention span and time. Since we are autistic, we have alot of trouble keeping up with anything that isn’t college related also, in addition to falling behind on coursework sometimes. Most of our neurotypical classmates hate this time of semester also, since many of them have a full course load and may also be working. Bucketloads of stress for all!

As I have said before we all love being in college. And this semester we have been more social with our classmates (partly out of necessity- several brains are better than one when it comes to Abstract Algebra homework, and we cannot co-front to do our homework. It just doesn’t work.)

But right now, we just want it to be over already. This part of the semester really really sucks.

When it is finally over, we will probably be extremely relieved for a week or two, and then start itching for the next round.

Ivan

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I love my family. But…

November 13, 2012

I love my family BUT….they can be too critical. They can be very impatient. They don’t respect the boundaries of the fortress (well that’s because they don’t know it exists in the first place. It is that way for a reason. More than one reason in fact.) I don’t think they’d respect those boundaries even if they were aware of them, and actually it would be even worse for my privacy if they did know about them. Our mother has a tendency to make assumptions about our abilities based on inadequate information (we can’t or won’t explain fully what’s going on.) For example when I say to her “gee, this math is really hard,” she might say something like “well, you know, nobody is FORCING you to do it, you can do something else!”

This drives us nuts! And what drives us even MORE nuts (and makes us anxious and unable to fully disclose or even halfway disclose all of our struggles) is that when we DO open up about certain difficulties we have, for example going to sleep at a decent time, which we do understand is important, mom says something like “well then maybe you shouldn’t be worrying about college right now.”

That drives us absolutely bonkers.

Here’s another thing that drives us nuts. When we were living at home, and not in school, Mom wanted us out of bed by 8:30 in the morning when we had no reason to be up at that time. She expected us to do this without fail. Then she would give us chores to do. Which wasn’t a problem really as we were living there rent-free. The idea of waking up at a certain time every day in the morning is actually an idea that we can embrace! But the manner in which she finger-wagged and something in her tone made us instantly averse to it.

In fact this has been a common occurrence with our family and our mom in particular. She is often correct in her assertion that we should do things this way or that way, and her advice is not wrong. But the HUGE PROBLEM is with the MANNER IN WHICH she gives said advice. We aren’t sure how much our averseness to it has to do with our particular neurology and how much of it has to do with the parent versus adult child dynamic. Things like tone and body posture and yelling really get in our way of being able to listen to and make proper judgments on the merits of her suggestions. Another major issue is that we cannot articulate in the moment, why we cannot or will not follow her advice, because of all the vibes getting in the way and feeling put under a microscope. It’s very difficult to come up with a concrete example of what we’re talking about here, but if we do manage to come up with one we will write it up in a separate post and link to it.

All that said, we do love our family.

Ivan

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WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL??? Or, Fuck you, OryCon!

November 6, 2012

Wow. So apparently Orycon, a sci-fi convention in Oregon that had scheduled an autism panel WITHOUT AUTISTIC REPRESENTATION, said, after being called out for not having autistic representation, that they would cancel the panel discussion.
The advocate doing the calling-out even explained what the problems were with the panel.

What she got for all her efforts and energy and VALUABLE SPOONS was a fake apology.

Yeah. She spends alot of time and energy and that’s what she got. I don’t really understand the entire situation to be honest, but I know enough to be absolutely outraged.

BUT WAIT, IT GETS BETTER! I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried.

THEY HAD THE FREAKIN PANEL DISCUSSION!

Because of YOU, OryCon organizers, certain advocates will probably need days to recover from their frustration and overload and wasted efforts to explain to you what was wrong and how you could correct the situation.

I don’t believe this shit. OMFG, I’m so freaking angry right now.

But I highly doubt this is the first time something like this has happened in the history of autistic self advocacy.

K, and whoever else made such an effort to reach out to these goons on behalf of autistic self advocates everywhere, I am deeply deeply sorry, that your valuable energy was so shamelessly disrespected.

These people clearly had no appreciation whatsoever of the time, energy and stress you may have gone through in order to advocate for yourselves and the rest of us. But I surely do appreciate it. I would never have known about this if K and others hadn’t blogged about it in the first place.

And yes, I used the word goons to describe the organizers of OryCon. Why? Because they fucking lied about having cancelled the discussion panel. Bullshit they weren’t aware of it happening. Read K’s posts I linked to. All of them.

I hope this gets signal boosted into the stratosphere!

Nothing about us, without us!

Ivan, Andrea, and Athena

 

 

 

 

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Dealing Effectively with Annoying Sales Calls

October 23, 2012

This post is about how to effectively deal with annoying sales calls, besides simply hanging up on the person, if he or she is especially intrusive:a) monologue about a really esoteric fixation of yours, rattle off advertisements or strings of memorized information that can be totally irrelevant to the subject of the call (in Congress, at least in the Senate, such conduct is known as filibustering, and it is mainly used to kill time and try to kill a bill). The more distant the information from the auditory-assaulting (changed wording on advice of a reader) session (the sales call), the better. This post was inspired by an article in the Herald Tribune (I can’t remember which one, I came up with this idea over a year ago) The author of the article said that he kept getting spam emails from Trump University about courses and stuff. The chairman of said university, Donald Trump, is a pompous asshole who is also full of shit, in my humble opinion.

If you are an autistic adult living independently and get annoying sales calls, your special interests could come in very handy. You could talk someone’s ear off about the very specific technical details of your particular special interest. Of course, this will only really work if you either don’t have overwhelming telephone anxiety in the first place, or else you are able to get through phone anxiety enough to talk about your special interest. The simple and boring solution would be to just hang up on the person. But that’s not very interesting! Many autistic people like to find ways to make things interesting in their own ways, even while we often insist on keeping specific routines that may seem anything BUT interesting to outside observers.

Wow. This went in a different direction than whoever started writing this had in mind. That happens sometimes. And it’s not a bad thing.

Non-autistic people who get annoying sales calls (happens all the time) perhaps read something from a cookbook if you’re into cooking, or from a book you’re reading, talk about your kids or pets or other family members (be careful not to give identifying personal information of course)

Ivan.

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