Four #SoCS

My husband and I like the number four. The reason is that the Dutch word for four, “vier”, is also the Dutch word for “celebrate”. One day when my then boyfriend and I were walking in a forest near his home, we went up a hill and he proposed we celebrate getting on top of the hill with a kiss. A little later, we saw the number four written on the path or something and he said four means to celebrate with a kiss. This is how we ended up making up the word “fouring” for kissing.

We played a lot of card games back then. This was in 2008, when I was still inpatient on the locked psych ward. We didn’t really know what else to do. So everytime a four came up in our card games, one of us would say that meant we had to kiss.

We got married on the day we knew each other four years exactly. Actually, the wedding ceremony was at 3PM. That had been the time of our first date too. It wasn’t because we selected the time, but it was quite cool anyway.

I like to remind myself of these beautiful moments. My husband gave me this little bride and groom that had been on top of our wedding cake. He dug it up from the attic the day after we had a little argument last week about me thinking I might go into supported housing nearly two hours from him. I liked the reminder. I love my husband! I don’t want to ever leave him. I don’t want to live too far from him. My marriage trumps my need for good care.

This post was written for Stream of Consciousness Saturday.

39 Odd Things About Me

I found this survey on several other blogs and thought I’d participate. I don’t know who created it. It’s originally called “40 Odd Things About Me” but there was no question #31, so I corrected it.

1. Do you like bleu cheese? No.

2. Coke or Pepsi? Neither. I don’t like soft drinks.

3. Do you own a gun? No.

4. What flavor of Koolaid? I don’t think Koolaid even exists here in the Netherlands. If you mean lemonade, I don’t care for it but the one I’d drink if I had to is raspberry.

5. Hot dogs? Yes!

6. Favorite TV show? I rarely watch TV.

7. Do you believe in ghosts? No.

8. What do you drink in the morning? Black coffee or water.

9. Can you do a push-up? No way!

10. Favorite Jewelry? My wedding ring.

11. Favorite hobby? Writing.

12. Do you have ADD/ADHD? Maybe. I definitely am disorganized but I’m not hyperactive. If I don’t have ADD, I’m pretty sure I have some type of executivve functioning disorder.

13. Do you wear glasses? No (they wouldn’t help my sight anyway).

14. Favorite cartoon character? Donald Duck. Is he a Dutch invention?

15. What three things have you done today? Done my morning routine, gone to day activities, read blogs.

16. Three drinks you drink all the time? Water, coffee and green tea.

17. Current health worries. Don’t know.

18. Do you believe in magic? A little.

19. Favorite place to be? The sensory room at day activities.

20. How did you bring in the New Year? I don’t remember.

21. Where would you like to visit? The USA.

22. Name four people that will play along: I don’t know.

23. Favorite movies? I don’t watch movies.

24. Favorite color? Blue and green.

25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? I don’t know.

26. Can you whistle? No.

27. Where are you now? Home.

28. Where would you rather be? Somewhere cooler.

29. Favorite food: Chicken.

30. Least favorite chore? Vacuuming.

31. What’s in your pockets? I’m wearing a skirt and T-shirt, so no pockets.

32. Last thing that made you laugh? Reading these questions on another blog.

33. Favorite animal? Cats when it comes to pets, dolphins when it comes to wildlife animals.

34. What’s your most recent injury? Hitting my toe on the elliptical three weeks ago. It still hurts.

35. How many TV’s are in your house? One.

36. Worst pain ever? My collarbone fracture.
37. Do you like to dance? Yes but I can’t.
38. Are your parents still alive? Yes.
39. Do you enjoy camping? No.

Socially Awkward #SoCS

I am socially awkward. Before I was diagnosed with autism, this was how I saw myself. I even had an E-mail group on Yahoo! Groups titled socially_awkward. This was for adults and teens with social issues of any kind.

Indeed, the main symptom of autism is still seen as social communicative difficulties. I do have them, mind you, but I don’t see them as my main symptom of autism. My main symptom is overload, both cognitive and sensory.

Then again, like I said, I do have issues with social interaction. I haven’t had a friend other than my husband since special education junior high in 1999. I tended often to be too clingy. In this sense, I guess I exhibited the “acctive but odd” style of social interaction that is often exhibited by males on the autism spectrum and is seen as the least impaired style, common in those diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. Yet I do experience severe impairments in other areas.

When I was older, I tended to exhibit a more passive interaction style. Then again, when at meetings, I can still be dominating. This is probably why the people in the Dutch DID group decided I wasn’t safe. They kicked me out, officially because they believed I didn’t have DID or had imagined it, but they cited as reasons for this that I talked bookish about my issues. Well duh, that’s typical of autistic active-but-odd interaction.

But back to how mild or severe my autism is in terms of social interaction or other symptoms. I was diagnosed as ASD level 1 under DSM-5, so the mildest severity level. The reason is probably that I can hold down relatively normal-sounding conversations in structured settings and with people of my intelligence level. At least if they’re focused on me, which diagnostic interviews usually are. I cannot keep up a conversation about someone else for long. This may be why some people, including my parents, used to see me as selfish. I tend to want to dominate or talk about myself. That is, I don’t really want to, but it is the most natural.

In the second symptom category of autism, which is restricted and repetitive behaviors, I was also diagnosed as level 1. I disagree, particularly because sensory issues have been added to the criteria and I’m severely impaired with regard to that. I stim all the freakin’ time, for example. I feel I should definitely be level 2 on this symptom category.

This post is part of #SoCS, for which the prompt this week is “social”.

Fairy

Fairy. I have always identified with this word. Or elf. Or changeling. The mythology of fairies taking human children and replacing them with one of their own, a changeling, has always spoken to me. It is a common early explanation of autism in the centuries prior to Leo Kanner and Hans Asperger. Obviously, I don’t agree with this, but I do understand it.

When Elena, one of my most spiritual alters, first emerged, she didn’t see herself as entirely human. She was the first to claim a fairy, elf or changeling identity. ChangelingGirl is one of my most commonly-used nicknames on bulletin boards.

I still like the idea that I have some spiritual aspect to myself. I don’t fully believe in Indigo children or the like. Besides, the theory of Indigo children is rooted in racism, usually favoring White children over those of color. However, somehow, there is some appeal to it. I do believe everyone has some spiritual aspect to them though.

When the body was a teen and Elena was most prominent, we had these weird superstitious rituals. We would’ve been open to pendulums and the like if we’d known about them at the time. More recently, when we did know about alternative stuff like this, I’ve tried to explore the tarot. I have several tarot apps on my phone. Of course, they’re marketed as for entertainment only. I like to use them to inspire my self-reflection. I don’t care that there’s no scientific proof.

This stream-of-consciousness piece was inspired by today’s word of the day challenge.

Silence #SoCS

#SoCS Badge

I read Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday (#SoCS) almost every week, but I’m not often inspired to write something for the topic. Today though, the theme is “silence/silent” and I was immediately reminded of something. As a teen, I would often go silent or “locked up inside”. I couldn’t speak. This would last for minutes to sometimes an hour. It was related to stress. I would often fall silent when talking to my tutor. He was a kind man, but he acted more like a counselor than a teacher and I couldn’t cope with his questions.

At one point, this tutor had decided he could no longer help me and he was looking for a psychologist to refer me to. He said this shrink would have to be very intelligent, because so was I. He added that he felt I was manipulating with my silence. Well I wasn’t. I was scared.

I learned when I was around seventeen about selective mutism. This is a condition that’s related to social anxiety, in which children (usually preschoolers or a little older) can speak, but won’t in certain situations, such as at school. The diagnosis is not to be made in a person who has autism, unless it is very clear that the symptoms are not merely due to autism. I was at the time not diagnosed with autism, though I was self-diagnosed. I joined support groups for parents of kids with selective mutism anyway. That’s where I learned the expression “locked up inside”.

I rarely have nonverbal episodes like this now, but I still do on occasion. Usually in this situation, a younger part is trying to come forward. I can often hear chatter in my head, but it somehow won’t cross my lips.

This situation is different from going “blank” inside, when I can still function but seem not to have any thoughts in my mind, or am detached from them. These moments usually are a lot briefer, lasting from seconds to minutes. They are also related to dissociation, like “zoning out” or something.

The tutor who witnessed most of my nonverbal episodes, indeed eventually referred me to a psychologist with the blindness rehabilitation center. Said psychologist had been educated in the Rogerian school, which is not really suited if the client is nonverbal for the most part, as I was at the time, at leasst in session. I continued to experience these nonverbal episodes for years when seeking mental health help. Now I am thankful I can sometimes talk openly in session. Not always or often, but sometimes.

It helps that my nurse practitioner asks the right questions. He phoned me yesterday for a check-in. He asked directly about possible suicidal thoughts, so I was able to be honest and say I had them, but not as badly as I’d expected given the latest in my long-term care application. I’m mostly glad I have him.

So You Know (May 20, 2019)

I discovered Revenge of Eve’s So You Know (S.Y.K.) last week through another participant. However, I would’ve been terribly late to participate in that week’s installment. Today, I looked up the questions for this week and am on time to join in. The idea behind S.Y.K. is that Candice, the creator, poses a set of questions, which other bloggers get to answer. Here goes.

1. How long have you blogged? What is the anniversary?
It’s complicated. I have had a blog on WordPress ever since February 21, 2007. However, I moved my content from an online diary to WordPress then, so on that blog, it looks like I’ve had a blog ever since 2002. The blog you are reading now is ten months old, with its anniversary being July 25. However, I’ve had this subdomain ever since 2011 and had a blog on it then too.

2. What was your original purpose for beginning a blog?
My original reason for transferring from an online diary to WordPresss was to make my posts less personal and more essay-like. I would put my diary-style posts under the category of “Personal”, so that my parents and others who did not want to read my navel-gazing, could skip it. My original purpose with A Multitude of Musings was the exact opposite, to have a diary where I could be completely myself (and my alters could be themselves).

3. Did you research about blogging before establishing your own?
No. I didn’t even know that some bloggers did. I started most of the blogs I’ve had so far on a whim.

4. Has your purpose evolved or changed directions? If so, what was the determining factor for the change?
My purpose is still the same, but I am more aware of my audience. This may be a reason my alters don’t feel as comfortable sharing right now.

5. What determines your measure of success as far as blogging is concerned?
I must admit I rely a little too much on my stats to determine this. I would really love to resort back to writing just for me, as I did on the online diary site, which after all didn’t even have a commenting feature. However, now that I’ve had a blog for twelve years, I cannot even write in a private diary without having an audience in mind.

Sunshine Blogger Award Again

Yay, I was nominated for a blog award again. Jill from Food, Feelings, Freedom nominated me for a Sunshine Blogger Award. I had already been nominated for this award about eight months ago, but am so happy for another award nomination. The idea of this award is that Jill poses eleven questions, which I have to answer. Then, I get to nominate eleven more bloggers and ask them eleven questions. Here are Jill’s questions.

1. What do you do when you’re having a bad day?

It depends. When I’m having a bad day, I mostly feel like sleeping, but I try to do other things to cheer myself up too.

2. What is one thing you are most proud of?

My writing abilities.
3. Do you have any pets? Want any?

Yes, my husband and I have a cat named Barry. I’d someday love to have a dog too.
4. What are three values you consider most important?

Respect, kindness, honesty. I think I got this question sometime a few months ago too, but can’t remember where I answered it, so I cannot look up whether I said the same then.
5. What are some of your hobbies?

Writing, reading, using the Internet.
6. What is one thing you would tell your childhood self?

Follow your heart! In other words, don’t do what others expect you to do if it doesn’t align with your feelings.
7. What is your favourite quotation?

I like many quotes, both funny and inspirational. My favorite quote is by Madeleine L’Engle and is about the fact that, the richer a character, the fuller of contradiction it is.
8. Where do you see yourself (what do you hope for your future) in 5 years?
I hope I’ll be living in a supported housing placement, doing day activities I like (at my current place maybe).
9. What is your biggest fear?
I guess abandonment.
10. What aspect of your life are you currently working on? (Work? Personal? Health?)
Mental health and finding an appropriate living situation.
11. What is a risk you took that paid off?
I don’t really know right now.

I am late writing this post, as Jill nominated me last week. I am also having a nasty cold as I write this, so I’m not up for a big challenge. For this reason, I originally didn’t intend on nominating anyone specifically. I thought for a bit that I should do it anyway, as leaving the nomination open seems annoying to me. However, screw it. I’m nominating the first eleven WordPress bloggers to see this post. Here are my questions for you.

  1. What is your biggest achievement in life?
  2. If you were to choose a college major now, which would you choose?
  3. Are you more a cat person, a dog person or maybe you’re a rattlesnake person?
  4. What’s your favorite color?
  5. Have you ever been to a farm?
  6. Are you a city, small town or rural area person?
  7. What is your taste in music like?
  8. How old were you when you spoke your first word?
  9. Where do you see yourself five years from now?
  10. What is your favorite mythical character?
  11. How long have you been blogging?

Share Your World (April 22, 2019)

For the first time in a long while, I’m once again participating in Share Your World. Today’s questions are very interesting.

I tried to write this post on my Mac, as I cannot copy the questions on my iPhone. I finally however decided to continue on my phone, as the WordPress editor is hard to use on the computer.

1. Was the last thing you read digital or print?
Digital. I am blind, so cannot read standard print. I rarely read Braille either, although I recently received a Braille letter.
2. Are you more an extrovert or introvert?
Introvert for sure. I definitely am not energized by a lot of interaction. I also prefer a few deep friendships to having a lot of acquaintances. That being said, online I can be more of an extravert.
3. How is your life different from what you imagined as a younger person?
Very. I am not sure there’s any resemblance, in fact. As a teen, I imagined being some type of university professor when I’d grow up. I for sure didn’t imagine doing day activities at a center for people with intellectual disabilities. I also didn’t imagine having a husband. The only thing I did imagine at the time was being a writer. I didn’t know about blogs at the time, but did know about online diaries. My online diary gradually morphed into my first blog.
4. Do you think about dying? Does death scare you?  Why or why not?

Yes, of course I think about it sometimes. I saw a man shortly before his death last January at day activities (a fellow client) and this did make me acutely aware of the finiteness of life. Death doesn’t really scare me, although sometimes it does.

Additional Gratitude Bonus Question:  Who has been the kindest to you in your life?

My husband. He loves me despite the fact that I can be quite blunt and a pain in the arse to be around.

Celexa #SoCS

Today’s prompt for #SoCS is “cele”. Choose a word that starts with it and go from there. I initially chose “celebrate”, but I got stuck before I even introduced my topic. Then it hit me, I’d have to choose another word: Celexa. I bet this isn’t as common a choice as “celebrate”, which I’ve seen with at least one other blogger.

Celexa is the antidepressant I’ve taken for over eight years and counting. Its generic name is citalopram. It is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), the most commonly used type of antidepressant. It is known to help with both depression and some with obsessive and compulsive behaviors. Not that I have those a lot, but I do suffer with depression quite a bit.

That being said, I hadn’t even been diagnosed with depression when I was first put on this medication. It was used as an adjuvant to my antipsychotic, Abilify, when two increases in the dose didn’t calm my anxiety-induced irritability.

Years later, I was diagnosed with depression. This gave me the courage to finally ask for a dose increas of my Celexa. I had already had five dose increases in my Abilify and was at the highest dose, but no-one bothered to look beyond my irritability anymore. In fact, I am not sure the psychiatrist who initially put me on Celexa did.

In May of 2018, I got put on my current dose of 40mg. This is so far working quite well. I mean, even with the bad news I received this past week – and trust me, it was very bad, distressing news -, I am not falling into the pit of depression. I’m pretty sure that without my high dose of Celexa, I’d have spiraled out of control. And I don’t need that happening if I want the situation, which the bad news was about, to work out.

The Friday Four

I am struggling a lot. I got some really bad news, but I cannot share it publicly at this point. This has caused me a lot of stress, but it did get me to revive my offline journal, which I keep in an app called Dyrii on my iPhone. I have the app on my Mac too, but haven’t yet fully figured it out on there.

That being said, my not being able to share what’s on my mind publicly, did keep me from writing on this blog at all. To get myself back into the writing habit, I am participating in A Guy Called Bloke’s Friday Four. I get the impression that this is the last installment in the series for now, so I’m rather late to the party. I like the questions though.

1] If you are in a bad mood, do you prefer to be left alone or have someone to cheer you up?
I prefer to be with someone to talk to and for them to cheer me up, but I often act like I prefer to be left alone. I tend to withdraw when depressed.

2] What’s the one thing that people always misunderstand about you?
The (lack of) significance of my being of above-average verbal intelligence. I got a bad reminder of this last week (the stressor I cannot share about here). For those who don’t know, I have an above-average verbal IQ, but struggle in almost every other area of cognitive, social and emotional development, adaptive behavior, etc.

3] What do you think about when you’re by yourself?
Usually the current stressor du jour, which often involves the future.

4] What are three things you value most about a person?
Kindness, compassion, respect.

Bonus Series 1 Question
If heaven is real and you died tomorrow, would you get in?
Yes, because I believe there’s no special requirement to get into Heaven (like accepting some kind of savior) and I’m not an altogether evil person.