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.

Share Your Merry World (December 10, 2018)

I am still in the mood to write, but am still a little uninspired. I love the
Share Your World
challenge though. This week, Melanie has really interesting questions for it.

What’s the worst topping you could put on popcorn? (credit to Teresa for this one)
Mustard, LOL. Melanie answered hot sauce, but I wouldn’t mind that as much. I’m still not fully recovered from my husband’s kale macaroni, on which I chose mustard as a condiment. Such a mistake!

In what country did Silent Night originate?
I have no idea and am too lazy to look it up.

How would you react if there was irrefutable proof that God doesn’t exist? How about if there was irrefutable proof that God does exist?
I wouldn’t change much either way. I am not sure what I believe regarding the existence of a living, actually-involved-in-our-lives God, although I think the idea is comforting. However, the fact that I do not subscribe to any organized religion and do not feel that morality is based on God, means I would probably still live my life here on Earth as I do now whether God exists or not.

And last question:
What is the scariest non banned item you could take on to a plane?
Uhm, my white cane? I have no idea really.

Which version of the holiday celebration do you and your family enjoy? By this I mean do you follow Jewish traditions with Hanukkah; Christian celebrations with Christmas and (for those over the pond) Boxing Day; or some other festivities that I’ve overlooked? Please do share with everyone!
We celebrate Christmas, although I don’t care about any of the traditions that much. It’s just one of two good opportunities to see my parents and sister. My birthday in June is the other.

Queen of Questions (December 9, 2018)

I have a ton of blog post ideas floating around in my mind, but I cannot get ahold of one. Teresa’s questions for today are very inspiring too, so I’m just going with those.

1. What was your favorite subject in school?
Math for most of elementary school and the first year of secondary school too. Then it became too difficult.

2. Sleigh ride, snowmobile, or something else?
Sleigh ride. I loved riding our little play sleigh back when I was a child. I’d love to someday ride a real big sleigh.

3. If you were a disney character, which one would you be?
I don’t know that many Disney movies, but the one that comes to mind now is Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. Not that I ever saw the movie, but my father used to read us the fabulous book.

4. What is the meaning of life?
I’m still learning. Maybe that’s the meaning of life.

5. What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten?
I don’t really eat any strange foods, because I’m a rather picky eater. My husband’s kale macaroni with mustard comes to mind though. The choice to add mustard was mine and it was a bad choice.

6. Puppy, kitten, piglet, or baby goat?
Baby goat. I saw them at the petting farm a few times growing up. I love kittens and puppies too though. My husband raised a cat from kittenhood on before I lived with him. The cat, now five-years-old, no longer lives with us.

7. If you were auditioning for an Idol show, what would you sing (imagine you can sing if you can’t)?
I’m a Survivor by Reba McEntire, of course.

8. What is your favorite cartoon?
I don’t watch cartoons. I like Sesame Street though if that counts.

9. Randy Rainbow – what is your favorite song?
Until I read another blogger’s answers to these questions, I’d never heard of Randy Rainbow. I’m too lazy to look him up though, so I’m going to pass this one.

Queen of Questions (December 7, 2018)

A few days ago, I discovered The Haunted Wordsmith’s Queen of Questions. In it, the author posts a set of questions each day for other bloggers to answer. I badly wanted to answer the questions that day, but didn’t get to do so back then. Now I’m participating for the first time.

1. You have to take the setting from one book, plot from another, and characters from a third to create a new book: What did you take?
I am not that much of a fiction reader, so I really have no idea how to go about this one.

2. What is your favorite candle scent?
Oh, I love love love scented candles! Or rather, wax melts, as candles are a bit risky for me to use. I have a lot of favorites. Now that I think of it, I think my all-time favorite is the Cappuccino Truffle one from Yankee Candle, although Mango Peach Salsa is also great.

3. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Yoghurt with crunchy muesli and some fruit in it, especially blueberries. I must say though that I eat this combination mostly for dessert when at my in-laws. For breakfast, I usually eat it without the blueberries.

4. Did you play video games in the arcade? If yes, what was your favorite (pinball counts too)?
No. I have no clue what the arcade even is. I am blind, and back when I was interested in computer games, all the accessible ones were boring.

5. Pool, darts, beer pong, or something else?
Showdown. Not that I like it, but it’s the only remotely similar game played by blind people.

6. What was the last thing you saw that made you do a double take?
I don’t really know..

7. How do you like your peanuts?
Salted but otherwise not coated. I hate the plain ones that you still have to pop out of the shell, because I’m way too lazy to do that.

8. What is your favorite lunch meat?
I don’t particularly like any kind of lunch meat, but if I have to choose, i’d go for salami.

9. Do you believe in magic?
Not really. Sometimes I try to, but it’s more of an entertainment thing than true belief.

10. What song best describes your mood right now?
Dancing Queen by ABBA. Not that I’m dancing, but I feel like it.

My Favorite Holiday

Carol anne’s most recent question of the day is about holidays. She asks us what our favorite holiday tradition is. She herself loves Christmas for its presents. My favorite holiday is also in December and we also celebrate it with presents. Today, I am going to share about that.

First of all, we’re not one for holidays. We don’t like the adjustment and lack of structure. However, we love getting presents. As such, our favorite holiday is Santa Clause. It’s celebrated here in the Netherlands on December 5.

Santa Clause is in many ways similar to Christmas in the United States. It is celebrated on December 5 in honor of St. Nicholas’ birthday. In reality, St. Nicholas, who isn’t a real saint in the Catholic church anymore, died on December 6.

Santa Clause is celebrated with lots of presents, which the Santa is said to deliver through the chimney. they are usually packaged in a surprising kind of way and it’s a tradition that Santa Clause leaves a poem for the children. These poems are intended to be a bit moralistic, telling the child what they need to learn next year to be a better child.

There is also a lot of candy that’s specific to St. Nicholas. I love most of these candies!

As young children, we of course believe that Santa Clause is real. I was about eight when I learned that he isn’t. One of my fondest childhood memories is of my father playing Santa Clause’s helper Black Peter being stuck in the chimney.

I obviously no longer believe in Santa Clause, though I’m not sure what the littles will think if I say this. As an older child, after I’d stopped believing, I found it very hard to play along with the game. Now though, I’m enjoying it. Most of my fellow clients at day activities believe in Santa Clause, which makes the holiday extra magical for me too.