ABC Tag

Over at Therapy Bits, carol anne shared the ABC tag. I love it, so I thought I’d fill it out too.


  • Age: 32 body-wise.

  • Books: ah, I love them! I’m not currently reading much, but love to read.

  • Colors: blue, green and purple are my favorites but I mostly wear dark colors.

  • Dream: to have a happy life.

  • Everyday starts with: opening my eyes, LOL. As for what I most enjoy about my morning routine, that has to be my breakfast of yoghurt with crunchy muesli.

  • Flower: hyacinth.

  • Goals: improve my wellbeing both phyysical and mental.

  • Height: 5 feet exactly.

  • In love with: my husband!

  • Job: blogger according to my Facebook profile, LOL. I’m unemployed but blogging is what I most enjjoy.

  • Kids: no outside kids but lots of inside littles.

  • Last thing I ate: yoghurt with crunchy muesli. Yeah, I just got up about an hour or two ago.

  • Magic power: I don’t know.

  • Number of fears: too many.

  • Outfit: currently I’m wearing jeans, a T-shirt and a golf shirt over the T-shirt.

  • Passions: writing, reading, soap making, walking, swimming.

  • Quotes: love them, but my favorites keep changing.

  • Reasons to Smile: a lot. Sunshine, a good book, tasty food, comments on my blog.

  • Season: summer! Love it.

  • Travels: would love to visit the United States and Ireland. Been to a lot of countries, but never outside of Europe.

  • Under water animals: dolphins are way cool! Oh and all kinds of whales really. I love their sound and when I still could see, I loved what they look like.

  • Vacation: my last one was to the Black Forest in Germany in 2014. I don’t really like going on vacation.

  • Worst habit: biting my nails.

  • X-Men character: no idea.

  • Your favorite food: fried chicken!

  • Zodiac sign: Cancer but if I weren’t a preemie, I’d have been Libra.

Weekly Gratitude List (August 17, 2018) #TToT

It’s Friday again. I don’t usually look forward to the week-end, but I love Fridays. They’re a wonderful day to reflect back on my week and remember what I’m grateful for. So here is my weekly gratitude list.

1. A stay at my in-laws last Saturday. My husband was visiting his grandma but, due to her cognitive decline, she would most likely not have recognized me, so I didn’t go. My mother-in-law took me on a walk with their dog and my father-in-law served us homemade pizza for dinner.

2. A long walk on Monday. At day activities, my group usually goes for a short walk on Monday mornings, but there’s another group who walk for like 50 minutes. An extra staff member was available last MOnday, who usually works at the group who go for the long walk but was at my group that day. She asked whether I’d like to walk with the other group while she was my sighted guide. I loved it in spite of a little rain. I really hope that I can regularly go walk with this other group. It depends on whether they think I need a one-on-one guide, which I don’t think I need.

3. Probably the last day for the year I could wear a skirt. Yesterday, the weather was good. It was warm, but not hot and there was a cool breeze too. As a result, I was able to go for another long walk with my support coordinator.

4. Managing half an hour on the elliptical on Tuesday. If I go on the elliptical tonight, tomorrow or on Sunday, I’ll also have crushed my five-day exercise goal. Not that I’ve been on the elliptical that often, but walking counts towards my goal too.

5. A good meeting with the Center for Consultation adn Expertise consultant on Tuesday. We don’t know yet what route she’s going to recommend us going re my care, as the next meeting won’t be till late September. However, I’m glad I was at least somewhat able to communicate my needs.

6. Walking around the day activities center almost with no help. On Wednesday, I asked the staff to accompany me on a walk around the building, so that I could see whether I can learn to do this independently. On my second try, I walked independently using my white cane but the staff was still close by. I’m confident that I can learn to walk this route independently. It’s only about a five-minute walk, but baby steps cunt too.

As you can see, most of the things I’m grateful for this week involve physical activity. I truly love this. I didn’t get to ten things of thankful this week, because I’ve been feeling a little off, but reflecting on the things I can still be grateful for sure does help lift my mood.

Linkign up with Ten Things of Thankful and Thankful Thursday.

How to Proceed in Our Mental Health Treatment

So we met with our nurse practitioner for dialectical behavior therapy again. This was our first session since I started considering dropping out. I am still unsure as to what I want, but I’m pretty sure that just working the manual in a very structured way isn’t working for me. I also wondered out loud how long this treatment is going to take and whether I think it’s worth it. With regards to this, my nurse practitioner explained that behavor change takes a long time because we learned our patterns from babyhood on.

We started discussing the “pieces”, as we call the alters when talking with our treatment team. My nurse practitioner said he wants to discuss this with the psychiatrist. I doubt much will come out of that, as the psychiatrist keeps the status quo as to whether we’re dissociative or not. She most likely believes we’re not, but wants to bring it diplomatically.

We went some into our original trauma, which involves my parents not having been given a choice as to whether I should be actively treated after my premature birth. They weren’t sure themselves and were told the doctors were keeping me alive and not to interfere or they’d lose parental rights.

My nurse practitioner also mentioned a book and movie about a person with multiple personalities (possibly Sybil). I am pretty sure my psychiatrist is going to stomp that association right out of him, as like I said, she probably doesn’t believe I’m dissociative.

After leaving the session, we were pretty unquiet. Katinka tried taking over from Clarissa, who usually does DBT, to get back into daily functioning mode. That was only partly successful. Our support coordinator arrived ten minutes after we got home and we were still pretty unquiet. We were able to calm down eventually and enjoy a walk.

In the evening, when our husband got home, we discussed the session with him and asked him to come to our next psychiatrist’s appointment on Tuesday. The original reason the psychiatrist had asked him to come is that she’d gotten the impression that we have relationship struggles. That upset my husband, of course. I finally managed to say that I want to discuss where to go from here regarding treatment.

There are several options. I could proceed as I have until now, which seems like the least productive option. I could stop going to therapy altogether or just stay with the team for med management and the ability to call someone when not feeling well. Or I could do more supportive therapy focusing on my emotional pain. This then could again be focused on several aspects of my life and it could or could not involve the “pieces”. I think that last option sounds best to me, but since it wouldn’t likely be based on a protocol such as DBT, I don’t think my psychiatrist would accept this. A fourth option, which I just realized when talking to someone on Facebook, is staying with my current team for med management and crisis support and going to another therapist for formal psychotherapy. I don’t think that’s a realistic otpion though.

Remembering the Onset of My Temper Outbursts

I have been a member of groups on the topic of disruptive mood dysregulaiton disorder (DMDD) for the past year or so. DMDD was introduced to the psychiatrist’s manual with DSM-5 in 2013. It is a condition in which a child or teen is irritable or angry most of the time and has severe temper outbursts on average at least three times a week for a period of at least twelve months. The diagnosis cannot be made in a child under six or a person over eighteen. This being the case, I’m not in these groups because I currently think I may have DMDD, but because I think I may’ve had it as a child.

According to my parents, I was just a little immature emotionally until the age of around seven. I switched schools, transferring from mainstream Kindergarten to a school for the visually impared, when I was nearly six in 1992. In 1993, I started to learn Braille. This is around the time my temper outbursts started. According to my parents, I wasn’t even regularly irritable up to that point. They describe me as a relaxed, cheerful child.

My own memories are hazy. Of course, I remember temper tantrums from before age seven, but what child doesn’t have those at times? Between the ages of seven and nine, my mood got worse and worse. I remember being suicidal at arund the age of eight.

So was this DMDD? We will never know, as the diagnosis didn’t exist back in 1993. Was it, like my parents believe, a way of expressng my frustration with the fact that I was going blind? Was I being manipulative, also like my parents think? Trying to elicit care from my parents and professionals by acting out? Or was it a form of autistic burn-out? Had neurotypical developmental expectations overwhelmed my autistic brain?

Like I may’ve said, my parents don’t believe I’m autistic. They believe I have some traits, but not enough to impair my functioning or warrant a diagnosis. They say I’m just blind and of genius intelligence. And oh, the rest is just me trying to manipulate people for attention. They don’t seem to realize, then, that I, too, suffered from my irritability and anger outbursts.

My Big Burn-Out #TakeTheMaskOff

Trigger warning: suicide.

I so badly wanted to finish the #TakeTheMaskOff series on my other blog, but each time a topic comes up, I feel like I already covered that there. I probably did, but then again, I do want to share. After AutisticZebra posted the story of her big burn-out, I’m going to do the same. For those who know me in real life or through my other blog, this is probably old news, but well.

The year 2007 was an extremely eventful year. Three days in and I was given an ultimatum at the independence training home for the disabled I lived at at the time: another major meltdown and I’d be kicked out. The staff had already referred me to the local mental health agency for what they thought was autism, but they just wanted confirmation that they were doing the right thing. They had no intention of actually changing their support style, because they were allegedly already supporting me based on the assumption that I’m autistic.

On February 10, I had said major meltdown. I had had a fight with my parents over them participating in my autism diagnosis the night before and had been incredibly irritable all day. My least favoirte support worker was on shift, a pretty uncaring woman who kept dismissing my panicky response. So I had a meltdown. And several days later, after the staff had conferred, got told that I would be kicked out. The date for my eviction was set for June 1, which was fair enough given that they usually need to give two months’ notice.

Several weeks later, I was finally, at the age of 20, diagnosed with autism. I was relieved. I could start counseling with a very supportive community psychiatric nurse, who managed to convince the staff at the training home to give me more time to find new housing.

By July 3, I was given the keys to my new apartment in Nijmegen, the city where I’d start college. I moved out of the independence training home on August 1.

The three months that followed are a blur to me. I had almost daily meltdowns, in which I ran off or injured myself. The police were called repeatedly, but I “wasn’t crazy enough” to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital.

That is, until one day I was. On Friday, November 2, I had been wandering all day through my parents’ city, where the independence training home was located as well. In the late morning, I had been kicked off the train station for melting down there on my way to the train back to Nijmegen. I couldn’t count on my parents to support me, so desperately, I went to the training home. I wasn’t supported there by the staff either, so wandered through the city for the entirety of the afternoon and part of the evening. A training home former fellow client then offered me to sleep at her apartment for the night, so that we could find a solution in the morning. That wasn’t acceptable to the tstaff, so I was required to leave. I left the training home, took the first bus to the train station and phoned my support worker in Nijmegen to let her know I was going to commit suicide by jumping in front of a train. I probably half realized that this was going to be picked up, but still tried to convince the fellow passengers on the bus not to clal the police. I remember a woman sitting next to me trying to comfort me, saying that help was on its way. At the station, I was picked up by the police, who took me to the police station and rang the crisis service in that city. This was when I finally got admitted to a mental hospital.

Looking back, this is a clear example of autistic burn-out. I was reminded of this once again by the Center for Consultation and Expertise consultant who came to visit me this morning. I was also told by that same consultant that my former psychologist’s twisting the truth to find a reason to kick me out of the hospital – by among other things taking away my autism diagnosis -, wasn’t about me. It was more likely about the budget cuts to inpatient mental health treatment.

Share Your World (August 13, 2018)

Oh wow, now that I’m taking off with this new’ish blogging adventure, I keep discovering new challenges to participate in. I had seen posts titled Share Your World on other blogs, but never took the time to actually read those posts, so I never found out about the challenge. I did read one today and wow, what an amazing challenge. The idea is that Cee, the challenge organizer, provides four questions which you then answer on your blog (or in the comments on her blog). This week, the questions are very inspiring. Here goes.

A class you wish you would have taken?
Too many to mention. When I was planning for college in high school, I was thinking of studying something in the humanities field, such as Dutch, English or history. I ultimately officially (as in, for yearbook purposes) settled on English, but never actually took an English college class. Several years later, I studied linguistics instead – for two months. I still wish I would’ve taken the language acquisition class I dropped out of after only a week.

I also wish I’d actually finished more psychology classes. I started on five or six of them at Open University, but only actually finished two.

And then there are the countless creative writing courses I’ve looked at on school sites but never took. Oh and I would reallly like to learn more about social work someday. Oh and alternative medicine. Oh and … you get the idea.

Are you scared of heights?
No. I remember crossing a hanging foot bridge with my husband one day several years ago, unaware that he was afraid of heights. I felt mostly scared because he was and I had to depend on him to keep me safe.

Are you a good cook? If so, do you consider yourself a chef?
No, not at all. I could probably cook a simple pasta if I really had to, but I haven’t actually cooked a meal in years.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination.
I try to appreciate something everyday. That being said, what comes to mind now is my husband bringing me a delicious bakery sausage roll all the way from a town about 70 miles away where he’d had to drive to in his truck. This happened on Thursday or Friday and I didn’t even include it in my gratitude list.

Monday’s Music Moves Me: Nursery Rhymes About Animals

Yesterday, I wanted to participate in Song Lyric Sunday and I had the most fabulous song (haha) for the theme of “drive/driving”. Then I couldn’t find the lyrics, so I gave up. I however also discovered Monday’s Music Moves Me, another music-themed blog hop. The theme for today is “songs with animals in the title”.

I have not previously participated in this linky, so I don’t know whether it’s focused on just pop songs. Others are including The Lion Sleeps Tonight, which was going to be in my head all day long, so I had to replace it with another one. I picked a children’s song. My mother-in-law sings this rhyme regularly.

From there, I decided to look up more children’s songs on this theme. I remembered from a time I listened to a lot of nursery rhymes that there was one about Alice the [whatever] has five humps. I googled it and here it is.

From there, I decided to make this entire post about nursery rhymes, so here’s another lovely song I found.

And for my last song, I’m going to cheat a little and share one of my all-time favorite nursery rhymes. It doesn’t have an animal in the title, but I guess it has a whole farm of them, LOL.

What children’s songs with animal themes do you love?

Mental Illness Labels

Yesterday, Sue over at My Loud Bipolar Whispers wrote a very interesting post on mental illness labels. It is definitely very inspiring to read how Sue overcomes the stigma and self-stigma of mental illness labels. I must admit I’m still caught up in mental illness labels at times. I started this blog in part to help myself overcome this limiting mindset where a diagnosis defines me. As such, I thought I’d do a similar post to Sue’s.

Over the past nearly twelve years that I’ve been in the mental health system, I have accumulated a bunch of mental illness labels. I am too lazy o list them all, but they included adjustment disorder, impulse control disorder NOS, dissociative identity disorder, PTSD, borderine and dependent personality disorder and depression. These labels define me in a sense, but in a sense, they do not. After all, some of these diagnoses were not just given to me but taken away again later. As such, I’m not supposed to dissociate anymore, as DID is no longer among my mental illness labels. Well, here we are, all 25 or so of us. I hear my former psychologist saying that I make up the DID because of having read up on it too much. Ironically, she was the one most eager to give me new and exciting mental health diagnoses.

Mental illness labels have a function in getting insurance to pay for treatment. In addition, they may guide what treatment and support you can access. Self-labeling (self-diagnosis) may have the added benefit that you can access support without the approval of a mental health professional. That’s how I access support geared towards people with DID.

However, mental illness labels should not be limiting my experience of who I am. I am more than my mental illnesses. Here is a list of labels I’d like to be known for.


  • Wife

  • Daughter

  • Sister

  • Friend

  • Writer

  • Blogger

  • Creative

  • Introvert

  • Compassionate

  • Intelligent

  • Honest

  • Former psychology major

  • Disability rights activist

  • Mental health advocate

  • Survivor

What labels do you define yourself by?

My Relationship with Food

Today, I’m paging through the eBook Journal Writing Prompts for Child Abuse Survivors. It is definitely worth it. One of the prompts, in the third chapter, which deals with shame, is about your relationship with food. I am going to write about that today.

I am fat. There I said it. I am no longer obese, fortunately, but I still need to lose over 20lbs to be at a healthy BMI. Besides, my body fat is concentrated primarily on my stomach, which means it’s all the more dangerous for my long-term physical health.

I have a long history of disordered eating. When I was around 14, I “wanted” to develop an eating disorder. No, I didn’t read pro-anorexia sites, though I probably would have had I had access to the Internet back then. I didn’t really want to have anorexia, but I wanted badly to overcome the painful relationship with food I had by this time, and my way of doing so was to develop an even more harmful attitude towards it.

The origin of this even more harmful attitude was probably shame. My parents would regularly yell at me for eating too much and I badly wanted to break this habit, but I didn’t knowhow.

I didn’t stop overeating, but I started obsessing over how it’d make me fat. I started keeping food logs and commenting on how much I’d eaten, but it didn’t help me actually stop overeating.

I remember at one time calculating my BMI, which was a little above 20 at the time. I thought that should soothe my mind and it did in a way. I wasn’t fat, after all. Looking back, I now realize said BMI calculator was geared towards adults and a BMI over 20 is in fact overweight for a teen.

I never developed a full-blown eating disorder, even though a part of me engaged in a lot of disordered eating patterns, including purging, up till fairly recently. In fact, this part of me – she’s called Agnes – was the one reasoning last Wednesday that diarrhea is a good thing because it helps me lose weight.

I’ve had a fairly normal relationship with food over the past year or so. At least in terms of behaviors. I no longer purge, rarely overeat and do exercise regularly. However, like I said above, my thought patterns are still pretty disordered.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (August 11, 2018)

I did the #WeekendCoffeeShare for a while on my other blog, but stopped eventually. Now that I’m getting this blog up and running, I think I’ll participate again. I’m currently having a cup of organic green tea with my mother-in-law, but if you’d like coffee, that’s fine with me too.

If we were having coffee, I’d ask you how you’re doing. I hope you’re all doing as well as possible. I hope the weather is good where you are. It is here. For me, that means not soaring hot anymore but not chilly either.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I started new day activities last Monday. My first week as a whole was as good as my first day. I have been doing a variety of different activities, both indoors and outdoors.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I’m still enjoying this blogging adventure. It is a challenge to blog everyday, but so far I’m meeting that challenge head on.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I am considering exploring a low-FODMAP diet for irritalbe bowel syndrome. I discussed this with my mother-in-law, who is trying this too. It is pretty compliicated, particularly the elimination phase, but it may be worth trying. I was provisionally diagnosed with IBS in 2013 after a colonoscopy, bloodwork and a stool sample all came back normal, even though I’m not a classic case. I’m already pretty sure artificial sweeteners trigger my IBS. I consume those in relatively large quantities, as I tend to believe they’re an excuse to consume sweetness without gaining weight. Thankfully, with low-FODMAP, you don’t need to stop eating products that may be triggering altogether. IBS, after all, is painful and annoying, but it is not dangerous.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I’m enjoying the day at my in-laws. My husband is visiting his grandma, who had a stroke a few weeks back. Unfortunately, due to her cognitive decline, she probably won’t recognize me, so I am not going with him. I’m so happy that I can stay at his parents’, because I don’t like being alone all evening. My father-in-law made a delicious pizza for dinner.

So what have you all been up to lately?